As you may know, this month has in recent years been nicknamed “No-Shave November.” What you may not know is why. According to no-shave.org, the goal of No-Shave November is to “grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.” The organization encourages individuals to “donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.”
You likely know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or maybe you yourself have dealt with it. The devastation it causes the cancer patient, their family and friends is evident. This month we encourage you to take part in No-Shave November and to share the campaign with your family and friends.
In the spirit of this month, we’ve compiled five tips for reducing your risk of getting cancer or beating it if you’ve been diagnosed:
1. Avoid Tobacco Products
According to a study by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health, 30 percent of deaths from cancer included a risk factor of smoking or the use of tobacco. Smoking is obviously a hard habit to break. This may be why nicotine replacement therapy is the most commonly offered Medicare supplemental benefit for 2019.
2. Eat Healthily
The American Cancer Society lists this as a way to increase your odds of not getting cancer. Make sure you’re eating your fruits and vegetables and keep red meat to a minimum. Harvard’s School of Public Health also found that poor diet and obesity were contributing risk factors for 30 percent of cancer-related deaths.
Visit MyPlate for more information on what your diet should look like. Adjusting or improving your eating habits will do more for you than just reduce your cancer risk, too! It will also have a positive effect on your brain, mood, weight and energy levels!
3. Protect Yourself Against the Sun
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and it’s one you can most easily prevent! Cover your skin as much as possible and apply sunscreen on any exposed skin. Stay in the shade when you can and avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day when the sun is most present.
4. Exercise Regularly
Get active! We know you hear this as a solution to most problems you face, but that’s because exercise has so many benefits, including weight loss and improved mood, energy and overall wellbeing.
If your health plan offers a fitness benefit, take advantage of it. If not, call RetireMEDiQ to switch to a plan that includes a fitness benefit, start a walking group with friends or neighbors, or attend classes at your local gym. Even something like stretching daily has been shown to increase flexibility, improve posture and reduce stress.
5. Get Regular Cancer Screening Tests
The goal of these tests is to find any cancer you may have before you have symptoms, allowing you to treat cancer early when treatment is most likely to be successful. Check out the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Screening Guidelines By Age for general information about when people your age and gender should typically get screened for cancer.
The screening frequency or types of screenings you need may also depend on your personal and family health history, so we recommend that you ask your doctor when and how often you should be screened.
Visit Medicare.gov for information about what cancer treatment services each part of Medicare covers.