Photo: Courtesy of Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
As a cancer survivor, I often wonder whether there was anything I could have done to avoid developing it in the first place. My mother had colorectal cancer, so I also wonder if she could have done anything to prevent her death from that disease.
You probably wonder too -- how can you lower your risk?
Fortunately, there are doctors who specialize in studying both the risk factors for cancer (such as smoking) and the real-life steps people can take to reduce their risks.
Your overall diet, how much you exercise, your weight, how you manage stress and other factors all play a role.
One of the experts in this area is Dr. Diljeet Singh, the director of cancer prevention at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Ariz. where she's also an integrative medicine specialist.
Singh is very "pro" us having a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. She is not a big fan of us taking supplements in most cases.
She is very much in favor of daily exercise to ward off cancer, help our heart and relieve stress. And, yes, she says stress does raise your risk for cancer.
I know I developed leukemia after the most stressful year of my life. You can learn more of her suggestions in this video interview I did with Dr. Singh for Patient Power: http://www.patientpower.info/video/reducing-your-risk-of-cancer?autoplay=1/
The bottom line is there are things you can do to lower your risk for cancer. They won't change your family history or your genes, and won't guarantee you will never get cancer, but they will give you more control in having a longer, healthier life.
About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, plus transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.
Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info/ and on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.