10 Steps to #GetAheadofCancer with @Counsyl

Did you know that February is National Cancer Prevention Month? More importantly, did you know that you can proactively get ahead of cancer?

I remember when my grandmother lived with us. She wasn’t an actual grandma, but she was someone that my mother respected as her mother. Since my maternal grandmother had passed many years prior, I only knew her as my grandmother. I used to spend days at her feet, listening to her stories and her wisdom, soaking it in like a sponge.

Then, one day, she didn’t come home from a doctor’s appointment. She was pretty independent, so she traveled on the senior city bus to and from most appointments. But that one day, she didn’t return. No one had reported her wandering.

I was terrified when I got home. I called the hospital where she had her appointments. Her doctor hadn’t seen her since the appointment, but upon calling the front desk, they had seen her wandering aimlessly. She had forgotten her name, where she was going, or how to get home.

I thought this was a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but after she arrived home, I received all of my answers.

She remembered who she was, and more importantly, she remembered that she had tumors all over her body. Years ago, when I was too young to remember, she had massive surgeries to remove all of the tumors that had manifested all over her body.

This time, she remembered that she didn’t want to go through that again. She wanted to sleep, rest and enjoy what little of life she had left. She was in her 80s by this point and was just… tired.

A few short weeks later, she went from a thriving senior to passing quietly and fairly painlessly in her bed. I didn’t know about her cancer history until this point and never harped on asking questions. I wanted to get everything of value that I could. I wanted more of her, not the cancer.

Sadly, more than one million people in the United States get cancer each year. Here are some basic steps to get ahead of cancer risks:

1. Drink lots of water

Drinking plenty of water and other liquids may reduce the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to flush them through the bladder faster. Although it is suggested you drink at least 8 cups of liquid a day, you can opt for natural juices found in apples and oranges (if you eat them fresh).

2. Filter your tap water

Filtering your water reduces your exposure to known or suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. Likely, it’s better to filter tap water than drink bottled water, as bottled water may have carcinogens that may add to your cancer risk.

3. Snack on Brazil nuts

Brazil Nuts are a stellar source of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women, according to research from Dartmouth Medical School. Other studies have found that people with high blood levels of selenium have lower rates of dying of lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Researchers think selenium not only protects cells from free radical damage but also may enhance immune function and suppress formation of blood vessels that nourish tumors.

4. Work it Out

Moderate exercise such as brisk walking 2 hours a week cuts down the risk of cancer. Regular workouts may lower your risks by helping you burn fat, which otherwise produces its own estrogen, a known contributor to breast cancer.

5. Lose Weight

Consuming too many calories and lack of physical activity raise the risks for many types of cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Being overweight or obese accounts for 20% of all cancer deaths among women and 14% of men, notes the American Cancer Society. (You’re overweight if your body mass index is between 25 and 29.9; you’re obese if it’s 30 or more.) Plus, losing excess pounds reduces the body’s production of female hormones, which may protect against breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. Even if you’re not technically overweight, gaining just 10 pounds after the age of 30 increases your risk of developing breast, pancreatic, and cervical, among other cancers.

6. Eat More Dark Greens

The darkest varieties contain chlorophyll, which gives them their color, is loaded with magnesium. Magnesium has been found to lower the risk of colon cancer in women. Just 1/2 cup of cooked spinach provides 75 mg of magnesium, 20% of the daily value.

7. Eat Clean Foods

Buy meat free of antibiotics and added hormones, which are suspected of causing endocrine problems, including cancer. When you purchase produce grown without pesticides and wash conventionally grown food thoroughly to remove residues, you reduce the likelihood of ingesting cancer-causing products.

#GetAheadofCancer Mom and Son

8. Do a Folic Acid Check

The B vitamin, essential for women who may become or are pregnant to prevent birth defects, is a double-edged sword when it comes to cancer risk. Consuming too much of the synthetic form (not folate, found in leafy green veggies, orange juice, and other foods) has been linked to increased colon cancer risk, as well as higher lung cancer and prostate cancer risks.

9. Up your Calcium Intake

Taking calcium consistently can reduce the development of precancerous colon polyps. So, get your calcium intake up through dairy or supplements.

#GetAheadofCancer Doctor's Desk

10. Get Screened for Cancer

Counsyl offers DNA screening and genetic counseling services as a simple 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.

The Counsyl Inherited Cancer Screen assesses your risks based on your DNA, and if you test positive, you have the power to act early on. 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.

Tweet: Get screened for cancer to #GetAheadofCancer with @Counsyl http://ctt.ec/2a4Y_+ #ad

Here’s how it works:

Simple and thorough

The Inherited Cancer Screen uses a small sample of saliva or blood to look at up to 22 different genes associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.

See what Counsyl tests for

Trusted by top doctors

Counsyl has screened hundreds of thousands of people, and they work directly with a network of over 6,000 health care professionals.

Hear from Counsyl’s patients

Covered by insurance

The Inherited Cancer Screen is covered by most major insurance companies. Chances are yours is one of them.

Order your Counsyl Inherited Cancer Screen today and be prepared for what lies ahead!

I am not a doctor. My tips are based on research from verifiable sources. Please consult your physician for the best care options.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Counsyl. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Counsyl. The opinions and text are all mine.