Cancer Survivors on the Web

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On Friday, at the Cancer Survivorship Research Conference in Washington, D.C., much discussion revolved around the fact that cancer survivors are turning to the Internet for help. Wen-ying Sylvia Chou of the National Cancer Institute said according to a recent survey, cancer survivors who have access to the Internet are more likely to search for health-related information than people without cancer.

Among young people living with cancer, social networking sites are replacing the peer and support groups that connect survivors. One such site, Planet Cancer, targets cancer survivors between the ages of 20 and 40.

Another social networking site that is open to all age groups is the Know Cancer Community, which features an inspirational blog about fighting cancer and a forum for members to share ideas.

Young survivors are also finding out cancer information from video games, said Brandon Hayes-Latin, an MD from Oregon Health Sciences University.  In a research trial, young cancer patients who played a game called Re-Mission ncreased their understanding of cancer and better adhered to treatment guidelines, compared to survivors who didn’t play the game. The game is free to download or order for young adults with cancer on the Re-Mission website.

Cancer survivors can also find online information on common questions related to diet and physical activity at the Cancer Patients and Survivors section of the AICR website.

Staying Active by Thinking Green

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There are over 400 national parks in the United States that help preserve historic buildings and landscapes while creating recreation activities close to home. Volunteering at a national park can be rewarding both mentally and physically. Volunteers help maintain over 1,000 trails and historic landmarks including places like Pearl Harbor and the Martin Luther King Birthplace.

The June issue of AICR’s eNews shows volunteering at a park is a great way to get involved with your local history and to add physical activity to your schedule. AICR recommends 30 minutes of moderate daily activity to prevent cancer and it’s important to find an activity that you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.

There are other ways to volunteer outside if helping out at a national park isn’t for you. The recent oil spill in the Gulf coast region has produced a need for volunteers to help clean up the affected area and report the environmental impacts caused by the spill. National parks have been affected by this as well as other organizations helping to clean up the Gulf Bay. Some of these organizations you can volunteer at are the National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. Their websites will contain more information on how to help.

Sunny Days and UV Rays

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Now that summer has arrived, people are spending more time outside in the sun. Just before you go out for the day, remember to put sunscreen on exposed skin. It’s a simple preventative measure against skin cancer that only takes a few minutes. This week’s AICR eNews features a piece on how you can prevent skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF of 15 or higher should be used and reapplied every 2 hours.

If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D, only 5 to 10 minutes of sun exposure without sun block a few times a week is enough for most people. You can also get vitamin D from some foods. The foods that naturally contain it in high amounts include salmon and tuna. The foods that most Americans get their vitamin D from are fortified such as breakfast cereals, orange juice brands, and milk products.

To learn more on what foods contain vitamin D, visit the Office of Dietary Supplements here.