Q: It’s almost a new year. What can I do to lessen my chance of getting cancer?
A: This is a great question. What a good New Year’s resolution to lessen your risks! The following four actions will markedly decrease the chances of developing a large number of cancers, as well as improve your general overall health. First and foremost, stop smoking or chewing tobacco. Next, exercise everyday—move, do something. We were not made to sit around all day. Lift weights and perform an exercise that will increase your heart rate, such as brisk walking. Third, adjust your diet to keep your weight at a healthy level. Last, decrease your stress level by stopping several times a day to take in a deep breath. Incorporating these actions should increase the likelihood that 2014 will be a healthy year for you.
Q: How much has radiation treatment for prostate cancer advanced in the past 20 years?
A: Radiation therapy treatments for prostate cancer have markedly advanced over the past 20 years. Treatments are based on each person’s anatomy, shape, and size. Targeting of radiation has gone from a 2-3 cm margin to a .5 -.2 cm margin. This focusing of the radiation with tight margins greatly improves the acute and late side effects of the treatment. At my office, we use an ultrasound targeting system which allows the therapist to align to the person’s prostate every day. This non-invasive procedure is the same technology urologists use to diagnose prostate cancer.
Every year over 1,600,000 people receive a cancer diagnosis. Discussion of this diagnosis often concerns questions about treatment options, side effects, and cure rates–questions asked by not only patients but also their caregivers. A cancer patient’s caregiver is someone who has taken on the responsibility to care for their loved one through the cancer journey. As they serve in this way, caregivers can often become overwhelmed and many times consumed with the duties of taking care of their loved one. Increased stress and exhaustion are frequently the result.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) provides several helpful tips just for caregivers on their website www.cancer.org. The following advice from the ACS is provided in the hope of helping decrease stress in the lives of caregivers and helping them stay healthy:
Make use of supportive family; do not be afraid to ask for help.
Save time at least once a week for just yourself.
Set priorities every day with your to-do list. Decide what has to be done and what can wait for later.
Pursue an outside project or hobby with your church or community, such as Relay For Life.
Try to keep your weight in a healthy range by eating well balanced meals and exercising at least 2 ½ hours a week.
As we enter the holiday season, everyone’s stress level tends to rise. For some cancer patients, this holiday might be the last one. Thus, to make the most of the time you have with the ones you love, try to follow some of these recommendations from the American Cancer Society to enjoy this holiday season as stress free as possible. For more information please visit www.cancer.org or www.fsro.net.
My staff and I wish for you a safe, happy, and meaningful holiday, as well as a healthy new year.