15.3 PTC Cancer Life Phases: Liver Cancer 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.
It can be scary knowing that you are at an increased risk of developing cancer. By making healthy lifestyle choices now and into the future, you are doing everything you can to protect your health. It is important to know that even if you have several risk factors, it does not mean that you will get cancer for sure. Some people who get cancer may have few or no risks that they know of! Make the appropriate life changes below to limit your risk, and be sure to see your doctor regularly.
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.
Needless to say, the best treatment is to prevent post-transplant cancers in the first place. The advice of your transplant 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.
How do you live with the fact that you’re at higher risk?
If you have had liver cancer before already, your situation might be a little bit different. Many liver recipients received a new liver due to cancer in their old liver. If that’s the case for you, it is natural to be worried that cancer could come back even after a transplant. Researchers are still working on understanding how and why liver cancer sometimes reemerges after a transplant. Although we don’t know everything yet, we do know there are certain steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Liver cancer: Can You Prevent It?
No, but you can lower your chances of getting liver cancer.
What lifestyle choices can you make?
- Get the hepatitis B vaccine.
- Stay a healthy weight through the food you eat and exercise.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink: up to one a day for women, two for men.
- Don’t use intravenous (IV) drugs -- if you do, use clean needles.
- Get tattoos and piercings only at safe, clean shops.
- Practice safe sex.
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 commitments 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..."
- Continue your reading here on the TRIO PTC website, 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 section 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 interests.
- 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
- Read: Cut unhealthy behaviors to reduce cancer mortality by one third
- Read: 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations
See the easy to use next step links below . . .