What's it all about?
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world.
- There are many types of cancer, but all cancers start with a single abnormal cell. Abnormal cells multiply quickly. They spread to other parts of the body, invading healthy body tissue and organs.
- Almost half of all cancer deaths can be prevented with early detection and treatment.
Why worry now, I'm a teenager?
- Good question. Many types of cancer are related to our lifestyle and teens are forming lifestyle habits they will keep for life-not all are healthy!
- It's much easier not to start an unhealthy habit, like smoking, than it is to break it later in life.
- It's also easier to form a healthy habit, like using sunscreen, earlier in life before skin has been damaged.
What causes my risk for cancer?
- There are many causes for cancer including smoking, the foods we eat, viruses chemicals, obesity and exposure to sun.
- As much as one-third of cancer deaths may relate to how we eat.
- Some cancers seem to run in families-it is unclear if the link is genetic or a similar lifestyle.
What can I do to prevent cancer?
- Eat your veggies and fruits-at least 5 servings a day. They contain nutrients called antioxidants (like beta carotene and vitamin C) which protect body cells from cancer.
- Veggies and fruits also contain plant chemicals which fight cancer-called phytochemicals.
- Fiber-rich foods like whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables with their skin and seeds protect you against colon cancer.
- Limit your fat by drinking skim or 1 percent milk, eating lean cuts of meat and taking the skin off chicken and turkey.
- Some forms of cancer are linked to obesity, so maintain a healthy weight by getting about 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Don't smoke.
- To prevent skin cancer, limit your exposure to sun and use sun-block of at least 15 SPF.
By: Barbara Willenberg, MS, Associate State Nutrition Specialist, Family Nutrition Education Program