Shannon Medical Center | Health Beat | Winter 2021

Spring 2021 5 Screenings for four common cancers GET MOVING. Your incentive: Regular exercise is linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer, endome- trial cancer and breast cancer. And it indirectly lowers cancer risk by helping with weight control. HERE’S HOW: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moder- ately intense physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activ- ity every week. Start at your current ability level and then gradually do a little bit more. Time-squeezed? Divide and conquer; for example, by tak- ing three 10-minute mini walks rather than one 30-minute walk. What matters most is your total exercise time every day. And you don’t need a gym to be active. Sneak movement into your routine. For instance, instead of calling friends, catch up with a walk around your neighborhood. Do errands on foot or pedal on your bike. Get off the bus two stops early. Watching TV? Do squats when commercials come on. You get the idea. MONITOR THE SCALE. Your incentive: A healthy weight may protect you from a long list of cancers. Among them: colon, kidney, pancreatic, endometrial and breast cancer after menopause. HERE’S HOW: To reduce cancer risk, most people need to keep their body mass index (BMI) below 25. Ask your doctor if that applies to you. If you need to drop pounds, a few simple habits may help you trim down. Use small plates to make modest portions look gener- ous. Eat slowly, setting down your fork between bites. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’re full. Keep high-calorie foods in an inconvenient spot so the hassle of getting them curbs cravings. Better yet, leave them in the grocery store and keep your home stocked with healthy foods. Also important: Ask friends and family to support your weight-loss efforts. Their encouragement can help you stay on track. Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Cancer Society; American Institute for Cancer Research Cancer screening tests are used to find cancer early—before symptoms appear and when cancer is usually easiest to treat. Below are four common cancer screenings that are especially effective at finding cancer early and lessening the likelihood that someone will die from the disease. MAMMOGRAPHY. This special type of x-ray has been shown to reduce deaths from breast cancer in women ages 40 to 74. Mammograms can show tumors or other irregularities in the breast. HUMAN PAPILLOMA- VIRUS (HPV) TESTING AND PAP TESTS. Both of these tests take samples of cells from outside the cervix. An HPV test looks for certain strains of the virus known to increase the risk for cervical can- cer. A Pap test looks for signs of precancerous or cancerous cells. Testing starts at age 25. LOW-DOSE HELICAL COMPUTED TOMOG- RAPHY (CT) SCAN. This test takes pictures of the lungs from many different angles and then combines them to form a detailed pic- ture. This type of CT scan has been shown to lower lung cancer deaths among heavy smokers ages 55 to 74. COLONOSCOPY, SIGMOIDOSCOPY AND STOOL OCCULT TESTING. There are several different screening tests for colorectal cancer. Popular ones include stool occult testing, which is often done at home, and colonoscopy, which is performed by a doctor. Colonoscopy can not only detect colorectal cancer early, but during the test a doctor can find and remove precan- cerous polyps before they have a chance to become cancer. Talk to your doctor about other cancer screenings that might be appropriate for you. Sources: American Cancer Society; American Society of Clinical Oncology; National Cancer Institute