Real Cancer Prevention
Hello, this is Dr. Jake Psenka from Longevity Medical Health Center in Phoenix Arizona, and if you didn’t know, February was National Cancer Prevention month.
I’ve been working with people to help prevent and treat cancer for almost 20 years, and I want to let people know what they can do to reduce their risk of contracting this disease. Preventing cancer is much easier than treating cancer and doesn’t really require any major shifts in lifestyle. I’ve found that many people know they should try to be healthy, but really aren’t sure how to do that. This short article will cover the basic concepts that people should know if they are looking to prevent cancer. This article is only the tip of the iceberg, and more information is available on my website HERE.
Research estimates that about 85% of cancers are preventable. This means that only about 15% are inherited. 85% is a huge number, and to put this in perspective consider that there were an estimated 1.8 million people diagnosed with cancer in the US in 2018. A prevention rate of 85% on 1.8 million people comes out to a whopping 1.4 million people who could have potentially not have been diagnosed with cancer. That’s a pretty substantial amount, imagine this on a global scale where over 9 million people die of cancer annually.
So, if it's not genetics, what does increase your risk of getting cancer? Research has shown that toxic environmental exposures and unhealthy lifestyle habits are the main things which increase a person's risk of developing cancer.
Some of these risk factors should be well known to just about everyone at this point, such as cigarette smoking, or excessive sun exposure. So, if you're a still a smoker it’s time to stop. Seek some help and quit for good. It really is never too late to quit. Also, if you're still smearing yourself with baby oil and lying in the sun for that deep dark tan, it's time to stop and buy a wide-brimmed hat.
Some of the environmental risk factors such as radiation exposure, air pollution created by vehicle exhaust or incinerators, pesticides, and polluted drinking water can be tricky to avoid, but with a little effort, even their effects can be minimized. The first thing to do is to determine whether or not these things present an excessive risk to you and your family. Buy a radon test kit at your local hardware store to see if the level of radiation in your home is safe. Have your water tested to make sure it's not contaminated with excessive amounts of heavy metals or chlorine. Just assuming you don't have a problem or that someone else is looking out for you isn't in your best interest. If you don't know you have a problem, you won’t know to fix it.
If you’re concerned about the quality of the air in your home, there are companies that will come and assess your indoor air for environmental and chemical toxicities. However, you could just purchase a high-quality air filter that removes both chemical and particulate matter from the air for probably less than the air quality testing costs. In my opinion, if you live in an urban area it's probably a really good idea to have a high-quality air filter in your home. Those little filters that you're supposed to change every 30 to 60 days on your HVAC system are very unlikely to be adequate.
Like the environmental risk factors, the unhealthy lifestyle risk factors seem pretty obvious. Concepts such as consuming a healthy and nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding excessive weight gain, and minimizing stress levels seem like common sense. However, in my nearly 20 years of helping people fight cancer, I’ve found that there are still a lot of questions and confusion regarding lifestyle risk factors and how to modify them.
Let's start with your diet. The main goals of diet are to:
Attain and maintain a healthy weight
Adopt a primarily plant-based diet that is low in red and processed meats
And minimize your intake of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates.