Prevention is a word that connects us to control. When it comes to cancer there are many combinations of different factors, some in a person’s control (like diet and smoking) and others outside of a person’s control (like age) while others are still unknown.

This section will discuss some of those within our control.

Cancer prevention is an understanding of the factors that are known to increase cancer risk. Dr. Sarma will review your family history and measure your risk factors. Then, if necessary, she will suggest appropriate testing and lifestyle changes. As with any medical treatment, you, the patient have options; Dr. Sarma will review them with you.

Common factors in understanding cancer risk;

Family history
Tobacco
Sun exposure
Diet


Family history – Research has shown that people, who have close relatives with certain diseases like, heart disease, diabetes, and cancers, are more likely to develop those diseases themselves. As important as family genetics, physicians understand that shared environments, dietary and exercise habits play an important role too.

The family tree has become a very valuable tool used to practice preventive medicine. The more Dr. Sarma knows about you, your family, diet and exercise, the better she can assist you in maintaining a healthy life.

It has been said that ‘your genes draw your road map, but you still chart your course.’ If Cancer has affected your family, take the time to discuss it with Dr. Sarma. Working together can help you to understand your risks and ensure a healthy lifestyle.

(link to top)

Tobacco and Cancer – Just read the cautionary statement on the cigarette package. It’s interesting to note, there are several statements that most cigarette manufactures rotate on packaging materials, and they include:

SMOKING KILLS; TOBACCO IS ADDICTIVE; SMOKING CAUSES HEART DISEASE; SMOKING CAUSES 85% OF ALL LUNG CANCER DEATHS; SMOKING HARMS YOUR BABY DURING PREGNANCY; QUITTING SMOKING NOW COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE; and TOBACCO SMOKE CAN HARM THOSE AROUND YOU.

“But I smoke cigars or a pipe” - Cigar and pipe smokers are just as likely to become addicted to nicotine as cigarette smokers. Cigar and pipe smokers also have a 4 to 10 times increased risk of oral, lip and throat cancers than cigarette smokers.

“But I don’t inhale”- Studies show your risk to develop smoking related cancer is still several times higher than non-smokers. Smokers and non-smokers who are subjected to tobacco smoke are exposed to toxins that include:

ammonia
carbon monoxide
nicotine
volatile aldehydes
arsenic
chromium
nitrosamines
benzene
ethylene oxide
polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
cadmium
hydrogen cyanide
vinyl chloride


To quit smoking is not an easy task to do. Nicotine is highly addictive, as addictive as heroine and cocaine. The body’s dependency is both physical and psychological; quitting the habit can create symptoms, such as:

Depression
Headaches
Increased appetite
Irritability
Restlessness


Dr. Sarma can help guide and advise to assist you to quit smoking.

(link to top)


Sun Safety – Exposure to Ultraviolet radiation from the sun in abundance creates a sunburn, either by skin redness, sensitivity, blistering and peeling skin. Long after the sunburn has gone, its effects linger.

Repeated overexposure to the sun can cause premature aging, wrinkles, age spots (hyperpigmentation), sun spots (hypopigmentation), and loss of the skins elasticity. The problem is accumulated over time and begins to affect your skins ability to repair itself. Even artificial sources, such as tanning beds, of ultraviolet radiation are believed to increase risk of developing problems.


Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays appears to be the most important environmental factor in developing skin cancer. This makes skin cancer a largely preventable disease when sun protective practices and behaviors are consistently applied and utilized. UV radiation is also a factor in the development of lip cancer, making sun protection even more important. UV rays from artificial sources of light, such as tanning beds and sun lamps are just as dangerous as those from the sun, and should also be avoided. Unfortunately, despite the fact that both tanning and burning can increase one's risk of skin cancer, most Americans do not protect themselves from UV rays.

Although anyone can get skin cancer, individuals with certain factors are particularly at risk. Some risk factors for skin cancer are

Lighter skin color Family history of skin cancer
Blue or green eyes
Personal history of skin cancer
Blond or red hair
A history of sunburns early in life
Skin that burns, freckles, gets red easily,
or becomes painful in the sun
Constant exposure to the sun through work and play
Certain types of moles

(link to top)


Diet – Your diet, weight and activity level all play a part to contribute to your risk of cancer – as well as heart disease and diabetes. Since what we eat can influence our risk of cancer and most of our diets are complex, changing over days, weeks and months. It can be very difficult to know what specifically can increase ones risk – In general the U.S. diet is far too high in fat and calories and lacks vegetables, fruits and beans.

The following basic recommendations will give you guidelines to a healthier diet.

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
Choose whole grains and avoid processed grains and sugars
Avoid red meats
Limit ‘dessert’ style foods such as ice cream, candies, chocolate, etc.
Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages
Quit use of tobacco products


A well balanced diet in combination with an exercise program will greatly reduce your risk of cancer and maintain a healthy weight.

Reports have shown a direct link to diet and exercise to ones risk of cancer. Modifying your diet combined with an exercise program can cut your potential risk of cancer by up to 40%. Dr. Sarma will review your diet and suggest alternatives.

(link to top)