Taking steps to control cancer by screenings and lifestyle is the focus in April

National Cancer Control Month is observed throughout April to increase awareness about cancer prevention and teach people steps such as health screenings that they can take to detect the disease in its earliest stages.

Prevention is key to beating the disease, which continues to claim more than one-half million people each year, according to figures from the American Cancer Society. There will be nearly 307 cancer deaths among men and more than 273,000 fatalities among women by the end of 2013, the ACS estimates.

Lung cancer is responsible for more than a quarter of all cancer deaths for both men and women, followed by 14 percent of women who die of breast cancer and 10 percent of men who die of prostate cancer. About 9 percent of both genders die from colon and rectal cancers each year.

The most recent presidential proclamation on National Cancer Control Month, which has been observed every April since it was established in 1938, noted the significant effect that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have on reducing the risk of cancer. That includes eating properly, exercising, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption and sun exposure.

Cancer-fighting foods
Even for people who maintain a healthy weight, eating foods rich in antioxidants is often advised by medical experts. Of more than 100 foods tested by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, beans, berries and other fruits and vegetables showed the highest amounts of the cancer-fighting chemicals and nutrients. Taking dietary supplements, including Super C22 from Dr. Newton’s Naturals, is another way to increase antioxidants in the diet.

The USDA analysis placed cranberries, blueberries and blackberries at the top of the fruit group for antioxidant capability. Among vegetables, artichokes and Russet potatoes were the best choices. Many beans, including kidney, red, pinto and black varieties, were also top cancer fighters. Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts were deemed the best choices among nuts.

Risk-reducing efforts
The presidential proclamation noted that while cancer deaths have been dropping for more than a decade, improvements in early detection aren’t enough unless people take advantage of regular screenings such as mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies.

Screenings are needed more frequently for people who have family histories of cancer or after a particular age – colonoscopies for those age 50 and older, for instance – but should be a normal part of regular health maintenance for all adults. Early detection of cancer gives individuals their best chances for successfully treating the disease.

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