Monday, October 22, 2007

Finding ways to protect yourself from cancer

In college, we do not always think about the way our lifestyles can affect our futures. Certain choices made today may have a direct effect on our health and can specifically increase cancer risk. The following are examples of ways to decrease your risk for some types of cancer.Skin cancer from UV rays is the most common of all cancer types. People who are at a greater risk include those with fair skin, moles, those who burn easily, those who have a family history of skin cancer, take oral contraceptives/antidepressants and spend a lot of time outdoors. To protect from skin cancer, find shade and wear hats and sunglasses when outdoors. When using sunscreen, apply SPF of at least 15 every two hours. Also, check yourself monthly for skin changes and report them to your doctor. Tobacco use accounts for about one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States and causes 90 percent of all lung cancer. Smokers are not the only ones being harmed by their habit. Second-hand smoke kills, too. Cancers caused by tobacco use include cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus and even the bladder. The first thing to do is to quit smoking. Call the Pennsylvania Quit line at 1-800-Quit Now. Call the Student Health Center for an appointment to discuss free medication to help with quitting. Pick up a Quit-Kit at the Wellness Center. If one chooses to smoke, avoid smoking around others.Diets high in fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk for cancer and heart disease. To get the five recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, try these tips for a day.For breakfast, top cereal with fruit, such as a banana, and drink four ounces of 100 percent fruit juice. At lunchtime, add a small side salad with low-fat dressing to any meal for an extra serving of vegetables. Even if a person only has five minutes, dinner veggies are easy and delicious. Heat canned or frozen peas or cauliflower in the microwave for a quick side dish. For a snack idea, freeze half a cup of fresh fruit.

Also, a handful of fresh baby carrots or a cup of applesauce will add another serving to your diet.Drinking alcohol in college can increase the risk for certain cancers later in life such as breast cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer and stomach cancer. To protect yourself, try to limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day.Genital HPV or Human papillomavirus has been linked to cervical cancer, according to To help protect your future keep these things in mind. Have regular pap tests, limit your sexual partners, and use a condom every time. Stay in a long-term exclusive relationship. Lastly, consider the Gardasil injection, which is available at the health center.For more information on ways to decrease your risk for cancer, please visit www.

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