Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cancer Prevention Awareness

Sometimes, I want to travel back in time to a period of my life when I was blissfully unaware of cancer and how it would impact my loved ones and my friends' loved ones. As I've gotten older, the number of people impacted by this disease grows and grows. And, in the last several years, some of my peers have been diagnosed with cancer which changes my view of cancer as something that could happen far down the road to something that could really happen at anytime in my life. And perhaps this is anecdotal, but it feels like the incidence of cancer among people around my age is increasing.

The way I see it, there are 2 ways to think about your risk of getting cancer:

1.  Accept the inevitability that you will potentially get cancer.
2.  Do whatever you can to reduce your risk of getting cancer.

I'm opting for #2.

So how exactly does one reduce their risk of getting cancer? The info-graphic below provides some suggestions.

Of the items listed, I'm pretty good about the first 3 (eating vegetables and superfoods, spending 15 minutes in the sun each day, exercising daily). But I haven't given as much thought to the area at the bottom related to household toxins. I feel that my risk of being exposed to asbestos is low as my condo building was built in a period of time when asbestos wasn't used, but if I lived in an older home, I would look into having an inspection done to reduce my chances of getting mesothelioma, which is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

However, there are probably other toxins I am exposed to in my household, especially when it comes to cleaning products, which is something I've given more thought to lately. So going forward, I am going to really increase my focus on household toxins and try to limit my exposure as much as possible. This means doing things like changing laundry detergents and cleaning products, among other things. I've started by switching over to Seventh Generation products*. I like that they disclose the ingredients of their products on their labels. It boggles my mind that this isn't required for all cleaning products!

Perhaps these changes will be all for naught and I will someday find myself with a cancer diagnosis. But in the mean time, at least I can find comfort in knowing that I am trying to do as much as I can to limit the risk of that diagnosis.

What do you do to limit your chances of getting cancer? Is it something you give much thought to?

* This post was in no way sponsored by Seventh Generation. I just like their products!


Emilie said...

I started to switch my cleaning products, too. I use Norwex products for 90% of my cleaning and all of my laundering. It's a direct sale company and those seem to be overly abundant these days, but I really love their products. Most of their microfiber cloths are embedded with silver which lifts bacteria and germs off a surface using no chemicals - just the cloth and water! I also love their laundry detergent, their mop system, dusting mitt, and their window cloth (no more Windex!) They even make a body cloth that has completely eliminated the need to use a face wash. I do use Seventh Generation for our dish detergent and it's the only "natural" product that I've tried that actually works well to clean grease. I hope to see more and more people making the switch to natural household cleaners. Ever since I did, I get horrible headaches when I'm around Lysol or Clorox type stuff!

Charbelle4 said...

I've heard of Norwex too, and apparently it is really good. I have a lot of friends who have found alternatives that are not considered toxic for cleaning.

suki said...

I'm a fan of Method and Honest Co products. I didn't buy them thinking that I would reduce my risk of cancer, but just in general, I don't like too many chemicals in my house if I can help it. The ones I have to work on are daily exercise and sun intake. It's so easy for me to stay inside all day and not get any sun at all! :P

Jeanie said...

I think of that, too, given my family history. And the toxins in cleaning products have been on my mind, too. Not to mention the odor and my breathing issues. Thanks for the recommendation. I could do better with exercise but the rest -- not so bad!

Stephany said...

Most of my cleaning products are all-natural just because I switched over when I was having congestion issues and it helped. Other than that, I don't really do much to prevent cancer. Mostly because my grandma was one of the healthiest people I knew, and she got cancer, so it feels like a crapshoot personally. =/

Marlys said...

One of the best "home cleaning products" is vinegar! Mixing it with water and putting it in a spray bottle is great for general cleaning, and also cleaning floors. And I love to make my own window cleaning products, too, as they even work better than the purchased ones!
Another great cancer preventer is white tea. I have to order it online, but it is very high in antioxidants. I drink a cup every morning.
My Mom, her two sisters and their Mom, my grandma, all died from cancer so I really try to do what I can to prevent it in my life, too!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Cancer is very scary- I think I go between feeling like #1 and trying for #2. Definitely with my child I try for #2, but I get very overwhelmed at the sheer amount of crap that he is exposed to. And also me, but mostly Max ha ha. I think one of my biggest focuses has been trying to reduce the amount of plastic that the two of us drink out of, but it's so hard to find good alternatives... and then I end up back at plastic.

Carolina John said...

Our family has certainly been ravaged by cancer. Just last year my sister-in-law, my aunt, and my best friend all had breast cancer at the same time. Then when Kelley's stepfather passed away last year from kidney cancer.... we do everything possible to keep cancer away down here.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

We try to limit household chemicals by cleaning with vinegar and water, and all-natural products for toilet cleaner, and dish soap.

Also, I try to minimize stress, which I think can be helpful in preventing any disease.

Elizabeth said...

Since this is more or less what I do for a living and what a lot of my graduate research was on, yes, I've spent A LOT of time researching and finding more information here. The current estimates are that 1 in 7 will develop cancer although I'd wonder if this might be an under-estimate truthfully. The more I've learned, the more I feel like it's somewhat inevitable, but I definitely do what I can to limit exposures in a lot of ways (minus sunscreen, I rarely use sunscreen....on purpose). Although there's not much we can do to limit many environmental exposures and since the ecosystem continues to transmit via air, water, etc...wellll.... :) But another area to look at in terms of toxins besides household (which can also be things like paint, furniture, carpet, new construction off gassing, est)...personal care products. You might also be interested in checking out Environmental Working Groups website and guides....and there are a lot of books on these topics I can steer you toward if you're interested. Having Faith by Sandra Steingraber was a great one I read in my MPH program (but can be depressing too). The Body Toxic by Nina Baker is another one I used to steer people toward. And I have plenty more titles....and more data/stats if you're interested.... :)

Jenny said...

that's really interesting about the household toxins. I'd never have considered that either. I think I should go through my household products and see if I need to make any changes.

San said...

I've given a lot of thought to this, knowing (too) many people that have been affected by this horrible disease (like my BFF from home who is currently in radiation therapy AGAIN.) :(

It's scary to think that this can hit any of us at any point in time... but all we can do is try to be healthy and take care of us and our surroundings as best we can.

Amber said...

I've been slowly slowly trying to reduce toxins in our house. We recently got rid of all our plastic containers and replaced them with glass containers from the dollar store! And as cleaning supplies run out I am trying to replace them with more toxin free ones... It's definitely hard though as I don't feel like the toxin free ones clean as well sometimes. I'm sure it's just finding the right products though! We would also eventually like to eliminate teflon from our cooking ware but teflon free is sooo expensive so that might be a process as well.