Friday, November 25, 2011

Prevention vs. screening

We have been on the screening, screening, screening trip for a long time. Everyone is up on the controversy about mammograms at 40 or 50 and MRIs as a screening tool. We also are all up in arms every time the FDA changes a ruling on a cancer drug - is Avastin really helping breast cancer patients? But aren't we forgetting one teeny, tiny thing?

Prevention is important too. We all know the basics - eat your vegetables, don't get fat, be sure to exercise, don't smoke, don't drink, blah, blah, blah. But do we do that most of the time? Yesterday, being Thanksgiving doesn't count, in terms of taking care of ourselves. It was a holiday. We are not perfect people and we are allowed to overindulge once in a while in all the bad things - fatty foods, buttery sauces, gravy, ice cream, pie, cheese, wine, etc. But we can't do this every day. We need to be good most days. This means no fast food, nothing greasy, no big restaurant meals, etc.And we need to get our exercise.

There has been so much talk about research and screening and treatment but we also need to remember the bigger picture. Cancer has risk factors that you can reduce, even though we can't eliminate them, by taking care of ourselves. I think I have overlooked this as well until I was reminded by this article that I read this morning. As we live in a society with ever increasing waist lines, we need to remember that with increased weight comes increased risk of ailments - not just diabetes but also cancer and more.

So now that we have started to digest our big meals from yesterday, we need to get back on track and eat healthy, get moving, and think prevention.

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