Cancer is the dreaded word that no one wants to hear from their doctor. Unfortunately, according to the American Cancer Society, one in three of us will receive that diagnosis at some point during our lifetimes. The risk grows greater as we age, too; Nine in ten cases are in adults over age fifty.
Cancer comes in many forms, and can affect any system within the body with varying degrees of severity. However, the tips to reduce your risk are pretty straightforward, and include the following:
- Don’t smoke. One in three cancer cases is related to smoking.
- Avoid secondhand smoke.
- Avoid alcohol, or at least cut back.
- Maintain a healthy weight – those within their recommended weight range reduce their risk of cancer by 18 percent.
- Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day.
- Avoid contracting viruses that can contribute to cancer, such as HPV, which is contracted by having unprotected sex.
- Talk to your doctor about lifestyle choices that increase your cancer risk. Be honest; your doctor is not there to judge you.
- Avoid radiation in all forms, and have your home tested for radon levels.
- Avoid using known carcinogenic chemicals. If you must use these chemicals, such as for work, follow all safety guidelines precisely.
- Women who breastfeed lower their risk of developing breast cancer, so consider this option if you have children.
- Avoid hormone replacement therapy unless absolutely necessary.
- Avoid sunburns – stay indoors during the middle of the day, use swimsuit cover-ups, wear sunglasses and a hat, and use sunscreen.
- Research medications carefully, prevent some health conditions by making responsible lifestyle decisions, and use only those drugs that are absolutely necessary. Occasionally we discover that long-term use of a drug can increase cancer risk.
- Eat a healthy diet – fruits and vegetables lower your cancer risk, while sugar, fried foods, and processed meats increase your odds.
And of course, make sure to schedule all recommended routine screenings. While cancer is sometimes the result of bad luck, and even occurs in people who carefully maintained their health, early detection makes an enormous difference in survival rates. Talk to your doctor about the screenings you should be attending, so that you can seek the earliest possible treatment if you ever do develop a form of cancer.
Finally, if you’re worried about your cancer risk and the cost of treatment, you should know that it is possible to add a supplemental cancer insurance policy to your coverage. These plans help to pay for expenses associated with cancer treatment, such as co-pays, deductibles, diagnostic tests, hospital stays, treatments, and procedures. Some even help with the cost of things like lost income, child care, travel, and lodging in the event that you need to travel to obtain treatment. Give us a call to learn more about this type of supplemental insurance, which can be purchased at any time throughout the year.