More for Men’s Health Month: Simple Changes for Prevention

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Last week on our blog, Dr. Kate Wolin talked about screening for preventing two of the leading causes of cancer deaths in men. Guys, in addition to screenings there’s more you can do: Take charge and reduce your cancer risk (and other chronic diseases) before and after you go for those screenings.

Here’s how:

  • Get moving. Physical activity reduces risk for colorectal cancer and it’s a lot more fun than a colonoscopy. Dust off the old tennis racquet, invest in a good pair of running shoes or take the family to the park and break out the Frisbee and football.
  • Eat more fruit. Watermelon, red grapefruit and guavas (also tomatoes, especially sauce and juice) are great choices because they contain a carotenoid called lycopene. Foods with lycopene can help reduce risk of prostate cancer. And fruits in general help lower risk for lung and oral cancers.
  • Lose the Spare Tire.  Too much body fat ups your risk for colorectal, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic and gallbladder cancers. And, that expanding waist adds risk for some cancers and for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Start with one change, like cutting your sugary beverages in half or filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables first (think carrots, spinach or bell peppers). Then add a new healthy eating challenge each week. For ideas check out our 12-week New American Plate Challenge program.
  • Be Smart about Alcohol. Too much beer, wine or liquor and you’ve added more risk for colorectal, oral, esophageal and liver cancers. If you drink, limit yourself to no more than 2 drinks a day.

Whether you’re a dad, uncle, grandfather, son or nephew, taking care of yourself means you’re more likely to be able to take care of those who depend on you better and longer. Just a few simple steps can make all the difference.

Learn more about preventing cancer here.

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    For Men’s Health Week: Screening for Prevention

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    Today starts Men’s Health Week and it is actually a great time for cancer prevention for men. You might not think so with all the controversy surrounding PSA testing, but we are making enormous leaps in the ability to detect cancers early when they are most treatable in two of the leading causes of cancer death in men – lung and colorectal.

    Colorectal Cancer. We’ve had great screening options for colon and rectal cancers for years. Depending on your preferences and a conversation with your physician as to which test is best for you, there are three evidence-based approaches to colorectal cancer screening: fecal occult blood testing (FOBT or stool test), colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy.

    1. FOBT is a non-invasive test that needs to be done every one to two years. If your FOBT test comes back positive (for blood), your doctor will send you for diagnostic testing, which is done via colonoscopy.

    2. Colonoscopy can be both a screening test and a diagnostic test. In a colonoscopy, the entire colon and rectum are examined using a lighted scope. Precancerous and cancerous lesions can be biopsied and removed during the test. Colonoscopy typically requires some form of sedation and a thorough cleansing of the colon. Read more… “For Men’s Health Week: Screening for Prevention”

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      From Cabbage to Garlic: Veggie and Fruit Variety May Prevent Lung Cancer

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      For smokers, there is no question that quitting smoking is the most important way to reduce the risk of getting lung cancer. (Smoking accounts for about 90 percent of lung cancer cases.) But a large new study suggests that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help prevent the disease, especially for smokers.

      The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; go here to read the abstract.

      In the study, researchers used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a study of about half a million participants in 10 European countries. The scientists separated participants by categories depending upon how many of 14 fruits and 26 vegetables they had eaten in a two-week period. Those in the top category ate between 23 and 40 different types of fruits and vegetables; those in the lowest category ate less than 10 different types.

      After following participants for an average of almost 9 years, the study found that – regardless of the amount – increasing variety of fruits and vegetables was linked with reduced risk of lung cancer, especially for smokers. Consuming the greatest mix of vegetables reduced the risk of lung cancer 27 percent among current smokers. And smokers who ate the greatest variety of fruits and veggies were significantly less likely to get squamous cell lung cancer, a common type of lung cancer.

      Because each fruit and vegetable contains a unique set of bioactive compounds, the study authors note that consuming a wide variety as well as the recommended amounts makes sense for health benefits.

      Previous research has suggested the quantity of fruits and vegetables may also play a role in reducing lung cancer risk. AICR’s expert report found that diets high in fruit and foods containing carotenoids probably lower the risk of lung cancer. Carotenoids, often yellow or orange-colored, are found in many fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

      For those who want strategies on adding different fruits and veggies to your meals, visit AICR’s Test Kitchen.

      For anyone who needs help quitting smoking, the National Cancer Institute has a site that may help.

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