THE BIG C…If we can’t cure it, let’s prevent it
I have so many wonderful friends fighting the cancer battle. I have so many friends who have lost and many who have won and are winning. We know sometimes there’s a genetic thing and sometimes we just flip the coin with our lives and smoke the cancer sticks.
However there are some things we now know that can fire up those cancer cells and also lead to heart attack or stroke. These are preventable things that we have control over. I have been impressed by Steve Jobs cancer doc, Dr. Agus. He doesn’t seem to be a Dr. Oz selling two-bit wonder drug remedies. Today his new book is released called, “The End of Illness. It is a must reading for each and every one of us. I would like turn this blog over to some excerpts from his book. Read is seriously and start these eight simple steps TODAY.
Who is DR. DAVID AGUS?
Dr. David B. Agus is a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California and heads U.S.C.’s Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. He is one of the world’s leading cancer doctors, and the co-founder of two pioneering personalized medicine companies, Navigenics and Applied Proteomics. Dr. Agus is an international leader in new technologies and approaches for personalized healthcare, chairs the Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Genetics for the World Economic Forum, and speaks regularly at TEDMED, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the World Economic Forum. He has received numerous awards, including the 2009 GQ Magazine Rockstar of Science Award. His first book The End of Illness will be published by Simon & Schuster January 17, 2012.
Here are 8 simple ways to help your body prevent the ravages of cancer:
1. Get an annual flu shot. Seems like a strange one to lead off with, but the data is real. Having the flu triggers inflammation, which can set the body up for serious problems down the road including cancer. The flu vaccine works without significant side effects. I want people to think of a flu shot in terms of not just how it affects their health today but what it means for their health a decade from now.
2. Ditch the vitamins and supplements.Unless you’re addressing a confirmed vitamin deficiency, are considering pregnancy or are already pregnant or breastfeeding, you can steer clear of multivitamins and save money without sacrificing your health. The data on vitamins has become abundantly clear: they don’t help, and can cause harm! For example, Vitamin E supplementation has been found to raise the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men, according to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association. There have been other studies showing side effects from high dose vitamin D, from beta-carotene and vitamin A in smokers and former smokers, and from fish oil supplementation. Save the money and eat real food!!
3. Keep a predictable schedule. Try to eat, sleep and exercise at about the same time every day including weekends, and don’t forget to schedule downtime to unwind. Getting enough shut-eye is important for memory, mood and long-term physical health, but regularity of sleep patterns matters more than total hours slept. Having trouble adhering to a routine? Consider getting a dog. Owning a dog involves walking and feeding it at regular intervals, forcing people to stick to the clock, get some physical activity and take breaks from working.
4. Move frequently and avoid prolonged sitting. Fitness is paramount to your body’s overall functioning, and you may not have to sweat the risks of pills or surgery. The data demonstrate that sitting for 5 hours a day is equivalent, on a health basis, of smoking a pack of cigarettes daily! It’s easy to underestimate how long you stay seated during the day. I was surprised to learn how sedentary I was after wearing a device (Nike Fuel Band) that measured my activity. Finding out that I had three hours of daily uninterrupted sitting motivated me to buy a wireless phone headset that allowed me to walk around during conference calls, resulting in a 35% greater number of steps taken per day. My prescription: aim for an hour of moderate exercise a day (short bouts count, too) and try and move (even just walking) for 3-5 minutes every half hour or so. We were designed to move!
5. Consider help blocking inflammation. If you’re over 40, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking a statin and low-dose daily aspirin if you’re not taking them already. These low-cost medications have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and even cancer, but they also have side effects you should weigh carefully. The discussions need to happen!
6. Wear comfortable shoes. Nix the high heels and other uncomfortable footwear in favor of shoes that don’t cause swelling or curtail your movement. Picking shoes that won’t cause back or joint problems can help you cut your risk of chronic inflammation. Over weeks, months, years, wearing comfortable shoes changes your overall health, and you’re also going to move more.
7. Take inventory of your medicine cabinet once a year. Go over your list of all meds (and supplements) you take with your doctor to see if your needs have changed and if you can lose at least a few of them. Health is a constantly moving target.
8. Know yourself by collecting data and keeping records of all your medical data. Monitor your blood pressure at home, follow many aspects of your health with the news smartphone apps that are appearing daily and share this info with your doctor. Store all of your health care information online so it is easily accessible no matter where you are.
Adapted from The End of Illness, A Short Guide to a Long Life and 10 surprising steps to staying cancer-free Vital Signs