Cancer Prevention & Screening

Recommendations for Women

Recommendations for Men

Reducing Your Risk

Reducing Your Risk

The cancer prevention specialists at our Cancer Center want to help you reduce your risk of developing cancer. To support that goal, we offer these tips, which are founded on scientific research and supported by the National Cancer Institute. We encourage you to talk with your doctor for more specific recommendations on how to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and for more detailed guidelines for cancer screenings that may be right for you.

Lifestyle

Scientists say that lifestyle choices are responsible for an estimated 50 to 75  percent of cancer deaths in the United States.

Diet and nutrition
Eat at least 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Choose dark green and deep yellow vegetables, and colorful fruits (citrus, berries, melons, mangos, and papaya). (Linked to breast, bladder, colorectal, esophageal, lung, oral, ovarian, pancreas, and stomach cancers.)

Choose at least 2 whole-grain servings daily (whole wheat bread, oatmeal,  popcorn). (Linked to breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.)

Choose at least 1 serving daily of beans (lentils, split peas, and pinto, garbanzo,
black, and navy beans). (Linked to breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.)

Choose healthy dietary fats, found in nuts, olive oil, canola oil, and avocado. Limit saturated fat, found in red meat and regular dairy foods. (Linked to colorectal, endometrial, lung, and prostate cancers.)

Weight and exercise
Commit to daily physical activity. Aim for at least 10,000 steps each day, including moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking. Wear a pedometer to help you monitor your steps. (Linked to breast, lung, prostate, colon, and endometrial cancers.)

Maintain a healthy weight through smaller food portions and regular physical activity.

Avoid weight gain in adulthood. (Linked to breast, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, and kidney cancers.)

Tobacco
If you smoke, you need to quit. To get help, join our Smoking Cessation program here at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.  If you haven’t smoked for awhile, avoid temptations that may lead you to start again. Smoking causes about 30 percent of all U.S. deaths from cancer. (Linked to breast, lung, bladder, esophageal, oral, pancreas, kidney, and cervical cancers.)

Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Establish a smoke-free home. (Linked to breast and lung cancer.)

Don’t chew tobacco. (Linked to oral cancer.)

Alcohol
Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. (Linked to breast, colorectal, liver, esophageal, and oral cancers.)

Sun protection
Limit exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest. (Linked to basal and squamous cell skin cancers and melanoma.)

Wear sun-protective clothing. (Linked to basal and squamous cell skin cancers and melanoma.)

Wear sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Wear at least SPF15, all day, even on cloudy days. (Linked to basal and squamous cell skin cancers and melanoma.

Early detection

Following are basic guidelines for steps you can take to find cancer early, when there is the best chance for cure. (Guidelines apply to average risk people with no symptoms.)

Breast cancer
Breast self-exam, monthly starting at age 20 (more information

Clinical breast exam, every 3 years starting at age 20 and annually starting at age 40

Mammogram, annually starting at age 40

Cervical cancer
Pap smear and pelvic exam, annually starting at approximately age 21, and every 2-3 years after 3 consecutive normal results

Colorectal cancer
Fecal occult blood test, annually starting at age 50

Sigmoidoscopy, every 5 years starting at age 50

Colonoscopy, every 10 years starting at age 50

Prostate cancer
Digital rectal exam, annually starting at age 50

PSA test, annually starting at age 50

Oral cancers
During your regular checkup, ask the dentist to check your mouth and gums.

Family history
Learn about your family risk of cancer. Five percent to 10 percent of all cancers occur in people who have a family member with the same cancer. Knowing what cancers have been in the family is the first step toward tailored screening and preventive options.

Environmental

Avoid exposure to environmental chemicals known to cause cancer such as radon and benzene. Have your home tested for radon, an odorless gas released from rocks and soil that enters homes through cracks in the foundation. Benzene is a natural part of gasoline and cigarette smoke; exposure comes from inhaling air that contains it, so avoid smoking, secondhand smoke, and vapors from heavy traffic and gas stations as much as possible. (Radon is linked to lung cancer, and benzene is linked to leukemia.)