This post is sponsored by Counsyl Inherited Screen. #GetAheadofCancer
Did you know that February is National Cancer Prevention Month? More importantly, did you know that there are proactive steps you can take to get ahead of cancer? Let’s take a few minutes to think about it – we can be proactive!
Let’s Start with Basics
Make sure your grocery list includes healthy, nutrient-rich food. Always buy organic milk. Fill your salads with color – it’s not only eye pleasing, but it’s also full of fiber and great vitamins.
Drink More Water
Drinking enough liquids is important. Make sure you always have your water bottle near and drink up.
Exercise daily — one hour a day is best. This might be easier for some of us than others, but if you have to start somewhere, take 30-minute walks around the neighborhood
Create a Schedule of Routine Screenings
While some of the checkpoints can be easily accomplished with one or two office visits, others require slightly more time investment. Your doctor will check your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels to watch for early signs of cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes. He may also order bone density and thyroid tests to check for osteoporosis and thyroid disorders.
In many cases, the earlier diseases are detected, the more easily they are treated. You won’t want to miss these screenings:
Breast cancer screening — Get a yearly mammogram starting at age 40. (If you have breast cancer in the family, your doctor may want you to start them sooner.)
Cervical cancer screening — Get a Pap test at age 21 and every two to five years after that, depending on your exact situation.
Colorectal cancer screening — Get a colonoscopy every ten years starting at age 50 — or earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
For years, my mom told me that family history decided whether or not we are predisposed to cancer. However, what the family history doesn’t say is that 50% of women inherit the breast cancer gene from their dads. How do we fight something we don’t know?
Counsyl DNA Testing
The Counsyl Inherited Cancer Screen can help by assessing the risks based on your DNA, and if you test positive, you have the power to act early on. Counsyl offers DNA testing and genetic counseling services as an easy way to learn your risks for certain types of cancer such as breast, ovarian, colon and others, and what you can do to stay ahead of it. By working with your doctor, you can build a proactive health and risk reduction plan including early detection. Detecting cancer early increases survival rates – the 5-year survival rate for localized breast cancer is 98.6% when caught in early stages.
If you test positive for the cancer gene, use this information to come up with a plan:
If your breast cancer risk is elevated, you may start mammograms early and have breast MRIs, too. Or if your colon cancer risk is elevated, you could begin colonoscopies early and have them more often.
Consider a preventive surgery
Some people have surgery to reduce their risk. For women with BRCA mutations, mastectomies have been shown to reduce breast cancer risk by over 90%.
Even some common medications like birth control have been shown to decrease the risk of developing certain types of cancer, like ovarian cancer.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Counsyl. The opinions and text are all mine.