February 4th is World Cancer Day, and this is a great time to talk a little bit about cancer awareness, as well as share some wellness information that could aid in keeping you healthy and lower your risk of cancer.


What is Cancer?

There is nobody in the world who has not been affected by cancer in some way. Whether it be directly or by a distant connection, the sad truth is that cancer remains the second leading cause of death to this day. So, what is cancer exactly? Cancer is not a singular disease in itself but an umbrella term. Cancer describes a type of disease that involves both abnormal cell growth in some part of the body, and the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can affect nearly every part of the body, with all types having the potential to be life-threatening. 


How is Cancer Treated?

The variety surrounding types of cancer makes treatment difficult, and unfortunately, there is no cure-all to cancer. The research industry surrounding cancer is constantly innovating new treatment methods as well as refining already implemented methods. There are many different types of treatments for cancer, including radiation, chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, and surgery; and these methods can be more or less effective depending on the specific type of cancer that a patient has. 


Who Does Cancer Affect?

In reality, cancer can affect anyone in life. There are some cancers that are much more common than others, and there are also some gender differences when it comes to the prevalence of cancer types. For example, the three most common cancers in women are breast, lung, and colorectal cancers, which accounted for an estimated 50% of new cancer diagnoses in women in 2020. In comparison, the three most common cancers in men are prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers, accounting for an estimated 43% of new cancer diagnoses in men in 2020. These lists are similar, but they also show a clear increased risk for specific cancers in each gender. As well, there are many external factors that can alter your risk of getting cancer in your lifetime. Things like using tobacco, or exposing yourself to UV rays without protection can increase the risk of getting lung cancer or skin cancer respectively. 


How Do You Prevent Cancer?

Without a definitive cure, the best defense against cancer is to spread awareness, avoid risk factors, and be proactive about a healthy lifestyle. Over a third of all cancers can be prevented by reducing your exposure to risk factors such as “tobacco, obesity, physical inactivity, infections, alcohol, occupational carcinogens, and radiation.” Along with factors that can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, there are also factors that can help to reduce the risk of cancer. In general, many of these factors relate to overall wellness and taking as best care of yourself as you possibly can. Things like eating a healthy and balanced diet, limiting processed foods, drinking alcohol in moderation, maintaining a healthy weight, getting vaccinated, and getting regular medical care can all contribute to a lower risk of cancer. This is not an exhaustive list of things you can do to lower your risk. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to learn and spread information, which includes early detection. By being able to identify signs and symptoms early, it increases the chances of successful treatment.  It is important to talk about cancer and share resources that can help those who are looking for help or simply looking to learn more. 


One resource the team at PromptHealth would like to share is our podcast. In particular, an episode where we talk about breast cancer with Dr. Bal Pawa, who co-founded the Westcoast Women's Clinic. Here's what she had to say:


"We can't say that stress causes cancer, but stress does cause you to not take care of your lifestyle, and that is a factor for breast cancer... It's really important to manage stress in order to prevent the risk of cancer and to stay healthy."


The truth is, there are many factors that are out of our control when it comes to cancer, but many of the factors we can control are small changes that we can make to our lifestyle. These small changes not only act as the first line of defense when it comes to your risk of cancer but will also contribute to a healthier and happier life overall. 


We want to help you to live that healthier and happier life! In our PromptHealth community, you can learn about all of your options for wellness and learn directly from the knowledge shared by all types of wellness professionals. If you are a health and wellness provider, join today and start sharing and collaborating with other professionals. Start sharing your content on one universal platform, and begin building your online presence along with your holistic practice. Check it out for yourself at www.prompthealth.ca and download the PromptHealth app on iOS and Android. Share this information with your colleagues and tag @prompthealth.