The ever-changing headlines on cancer screening guidelines can really get to you, especially if you "did everything right" and cancer still moved in and set up occupancy.
Last fall the fury started with revised guidelines for mammography screening. Then last month another shout-out erupted over PSA screening guidelines for men. I'll leave that for DH and my brother (prostate cancer survivor) to discuss with their physicians for now.
As outlined last week in CancerWise, a publication of MD Anderson Cancer Center, there are four types of risk factors:
1) Behavioral. This obviously, is one of the factors we can control and are known by survivors: smoking, alcohol, exercise, diet. Is there anything you need to change? If so, let's do it!
2) Environmental. Do you work in the sun? Are you exposed to any pesticides? This is an area we need to learn more about. The obvious "asbestos factor" is not an issue for most of us, but what about all the additives in food, clothing furniture, etc....and all those fragrance sprays/candles/mists? You'd think we smell like pigs with all the fragrance products out there. I say: get rid of most, if not all of them.
3) Biological. We can't do anything about this. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls. We get breast, cervical, uterine, endometrial, ovarian cancers; men get prostate cancer. Cancer risk increases with age; and skin color. For example, light skinned people like DH (northern European) are at risk for skin cancer and African American people are not.
4) Genetic. Here comes the Catch-22 and a huge conundrum. If only 5-10% of ALL cancers are inherited, then what else will we need to learn about our genetic make-up to help prevent cancer? Obviously some mutation has occurred that is outside these other factors.
Let's find out more. On Tuesday, March 23, Dr. Therese Bevers of MD Anderson's Cancer Prevention Center will be on Twitter beginning at 1 pm. to answer your questions. All you need to do is ask your question with the hashtag #CancerRisk included in your Tweet. I'll monitor the conversation, so if you can't attend and have a question, let me know, and will make sure it is submitted! You may have questions for yourself, about your children or friends. This is a terrific opportunity for us to find out all we can.
Hope you can join me! Have the best weekend possible:)