U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health|
CANCER: SOME GOOD NEWS YOU CAN LIVE WITH
Before today, you may not have thought about cancer and good news together. But, the news about cancer is getting better: Most people never get cancer. Most cancers can be cured if found early and treated right away. Best of all, you can take steps every day to reduce your chances of getting cancer.
Drinking too much alcohol causes some types of cancer. Smoking and heavy drinking together make the risk of cancer even higher.
3. Choose healthy foods.
What you eat can affect your chances of getting cancer. Fatty foods like lunch meats, salt pork, and sausage add to your cancer risk. But foods with fiber (roughage) like vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain breads and cereals may protect against cancer.
You may already eat many foods that taste good and are good for you like vegetables, whole-grain breads, fish, and fresh fruits. To eat healthy, you don't have to give up the foods you enjoy!
To protect yourself from cancer, eat more foods that are low in fat and high in fiber. Here are some ideas to get you started:
CHOOSE MORE FOODS LIKE THESE:
Low-fat foods Fish, chicken and turkey with no skin, skim milk, rice, spaghetti, fruits, and vegetables.
Foods with Oranges, grapefruit, peaches, strawberries, and vitamins A and C, melon. Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and broccoli.
Foods high in Whole-wheat or corn breads, cereals like bran, fiber (roughage), raw fruits and vegetables (with the skin), beans and peas.
4. Have as few x-rays as possible.
Having an x-ray taken every now and then is safe for most people. X-rays are helpful and contain only a small amount of radiation. Your cancer risk only goes up when you have x-rays too often, because large doses of radiation are harmful. To be safe, talk to your doctor and dentist to make sure each x-ray is needed. Let them know if you have had any other x-rays within the past 2 years. X-rays to find cancer and other health problems are always important. So you should not worry about risks from these x-rays when they are needed.
5. Learn and follow safety rules ar work.
In some jobs, you may be exposed to chemicals, metals, dusts, or fibers that can cause cancer. Find out about the safety rules where you work. To protect yourself, wear special clothes like gloves and masks, and always use safety equipment. If you smoke, try to stop right away. Smokers who work with hazardous materials have a very high risk of getting cancer.
FIND CANCER EARLY-AND SAVE YOUR LIFE
When cancer is found early, it can be cured. Most cancers start small, in one part of the body. Over time they can grow and spread. Treatment is easier and works better when the cancer is still small, and has not spread.
You can check for some cancers yourself. If you are a woman, check your breasts for lumps every month. This is called breast self-exam or BSE. If you are a man, you should check your testicles for lumps every month. This is called testicular self-exam or TSE. Your doctor or staff at the local clinic can show you how to do these tests the right way. Then, it is up to you to do them every month to find cancer early.
The following are seven warning signs that may mean cancer. You know your body better than anyone else. Be alert to any changes.
Having a warning sign doesn't mean you have cancer, but if any change lasts longer than 2 weeks, see your doctor right away. Don't wait for signs to become painful. Pain is rarely an early sign of cancer.
KNOW CANCER'S SEVEN WARNING SIGNS
GET REGULAR CHECKUPS
Seeing the doctor regularly can make a big difference. A doctor can often find early signs of cancer before you notice them. Also, take tests for cancer when they are given at health clinics and on the job.
Chances are good that you do not have cancer, even if you have one of the warning signs. But, the sooner you see your doctor, the sooner you will know for sure.
GET THE BEST MEDICAL CARE
If your doctor says you have cancer, start medical treatment right away. You may want to see a cancer specialist (oncologist) and find out about the best hospital in your area for cancer patients. You also have the right to ask more than one doctor about your cancer and the best way to treat it. Many people get a second opinion as part of good health care.
Don't delay! When you follow a doctor's advice about cancer, your chances of living a long, healthy life are better than ever.
THE GOOD NEWS: PASS IT ON
Today blacks can help themselves prevent cancer by making a few changes in the way they live. If you find cancer early and see a doctor right away, you have a good chance of being cured. So pass on this good news to family members and friends.
If you want to learn more about cancer and how to prevent it, call the Cancer Information Service toll free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). This free, private service answers questions for the general public, cancer patients, their families, and their friends.
The National Cancer Institute sponsors a toll-free Cancer Information Service (CIS). By dialing 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237), you will be connected to a CIS office, where a trained staff member can answer your questions and listen to your concerns. They also have a live chat website where you can get answers to your questions about cancer, clinical trials, and quitting smoking
SPECIAL CONCERNS FOR BLACK WOMEN
SPECIAL CONCERNS FOR BLACK MEN
In Alaska, call 1-800-638-6070; in Hawaii, on Oahu call 524-1234 (call collect from neighboring islands).
Spanish-speaking staff members are available to callers from the following areas (daytime hours only): California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey (area code 201), New York, and Texas.
NIH publication No. 87-2956