15. PTC Cancer Life Phases: Prevention
Prevention is clearly the best option when it comes to post-transplant cancer (PTC). Start here for an education in both text and video about preventative things you can do to avoid cancer or at least minimize the higher risks associated with our post-transplant lives given cancer friendly medications we take to stay alive.
Be sure to check out the recommended actions and associated links below for more resources and interesting research articles. There's even a link to a month planner resource to support your cancer prevention efforts.
(Note: there's more content and videos to come, but here's a place to start...)
Needless to say, the best treatment is to prevent post-transplant cancers in the first place. The advice of your transpant team in this regard is your first source, so ask, ask and then ask again!
Can Cancer Be Prevented?
Cancer can take years, or even decades to develop, yet many people believe that getting cancer is due to genes, fate or bad luck. But scientific research shows that our cancer risk depends on a combination of our genes, our lifestyle and our environment – things we can and cannot control. So, when we talk about cancer prevention, we focus on the areas we can control and how we can lower our risk. This is important: there are things you can do today that can help to prevent, delay, or even stop the cancer process at all stages of life.
Why Is Prevention Important?
Prevention is more important than ever. In the U.S., 1 in 4 people will develop cancer at some point in their lives. A cancer diagnosis can be devastating for patients and their families. The physical and emotional distress may be a compelling enough reason to help individuals lower their cancer risk. But we also know that rates of cancer are increasing in the United States, which translates to a growing burden in terms of treatment and costs for care. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases will be lowered and reduce the burden that cancer places on the population.
How Many Cancers Could Be Prevented
Around 40 percent of cancer cases are preventable, which means that 694,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the U.S. every year by reducing our exposure to the cancer risk factors that we can control – including diet, weight and physical inactivity.
Start with the most common post-transplant cancer
For the most common forms of PTC's, ie., skin cancers, especially with the increased sensitivity of the skin as a side effect of our meds, staying out of the sun is paramont. But then who can really do that with our active life styles? The use of shade inducing hats and the abundant use of high level sunscreens is equally important. As one of our PTC faculty members puts it, "If they aren't making fun of your hat, it isn't large enough yet!" (Thanks Chris Miller, for that funny yet sage advice.)
In general, the best prevention of all kinds of cancers involves proper exercise and diet. Once initial transplant recovery is achieved, most find renewed energy and passion for those two areas of our lives, but lifetime discipline in those is another challenge. Setting goals and tracking/celebrating achievements is a good practice for long-term committments and success.
Another simple practice may be the taking of a daily dose of aspirin. Check out the TIME article,
"Should you take aspirin every day? Here's what science says..."
Armed with knowledge, you are ready to take next steps with these actions . . .
- continue your reading here on the TRIO PTC web site, walking through the remaining LIVE topics of DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT and LONG TERM RECOVERY to round out your knowledge of this important education using the links below
- need inspiration? Watch the PATIENT CANCER SURVIVAL testimonials in the LINKS secction of this site (if you are willing to add your own PTC survival story, write to info@TRIOweb.org with contact information)
- Review the 10 Best Practices offered in the LINKS section and build your own life plan with those that apply to your life (do you have additional 'best practices' you would like to suggest be added, go to the BLOG from the LINKS section and make a contribution to that topic - we may even add yours to our list!)
- Go to the BLOG section under LINKS and review the topics there to see if you find one of interest to you. Add your own comments to that topic if you can, to help others with similar interest.
- Check out the research article links below for more insights
- download the 30 Day Cancer Prevention Planner to help with your own daily habit development
- read: Reduce Your Cancer Risk with Physical Activity
See the easy to use next step links below . . .