The Big C

The Big 'C.'

The 'C' word. 

These code words for cancer are enough to send a chill up your spine. Utter the entire word 'cancer' and you will likely make someone stop in his or her tracks.

Thankfully, you probably won’t get cancer. The doctors I talked with for the NC Science Now story Precision Medicine say almost 70% of cancers are avoidable if you lead a relatively healthy lifestyle. That includes a good diet (high in fruits, vegetables and grains with limited red meat), regular exercise (30 minutes per day), and avoiding tobacco products.

And thanks to modern medicine, a cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. In fact, many cancers are treatable, if caught early, and patients go on to live a long and healthy life.

But here are a few other tips the doctors shared to help you avoid the 'C' word...

  1. Be lean.
    Most of us could stand to lose 10 pounds. It’s not only a healthy diet that will help you avoid cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that being overweight accounts for 2% of all cancer deaths among women and 14% of cancer deaths in men. Check your BMI, or body-mass index.

  2. Hydrate with water.
    Doctors say drinking plenty of water may reduce the risk of bladder cancer by flushing the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine through the body faster. Doctors also advise limiting sugary drinks and energy drinks. It’s not because those drinks cause cancer, but because those drinks are high in calories. See point #1.

  3. Be sun smart.
    There’s growing evidence that the color of clothing can offer protection against skin cancer. Blue and red fabrics may offer better protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays than white and yellow. Also, don’t forget to wear a hat and sunscreen. Melanoma appears most often on areas of the body that get the most sun.

— Frank Graff

Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on North Carolina Science Now, a weekly science series that airs Wednesdays, beginning in August 2013, as part of North Carolina Now on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog!

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