Two-thirds of cancers can be prevented by diet and exercise alone. Now is the time to focus on cancer prevention.
Have you ever stopped to think about all the days and the months that we celebrate something? There are birthdays, anniversaries, Doctors Day, Nurses Week, Valentine’s Day, National Donut Day, and the list goes on and on. Why are there so many days to celebrate, and how many dates/months can one person remember? Plus, who comes up with all of these? Really, do we need a National Junk Food Day (July 21 in case you were wondering)? Which one’s do you choose to celebrate or partake in? If you’re like me, we end up celebrating a lot of these.
As an Oncology Nurse, I naturally lean more to those days that apply to my field of practice, but I manage to throw in a few extra for good measure. Did you know that February is Cancer Prevention Month? When I really stop and think about it, I am working with people that already have cancer — do they care about prevention of cancer? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
I am sure that we all have patients that have said “getting cancer was the best blessing in my life.” It’s their aha moment when they may decide to change their habits and lifestyle. I find myself talking to patients about screenings, awareness, and healthy lifestyle choices more than I have in any other time in my career. Every time I talk about making choices that lead to a healthy lifestyle, I think to myself, “I personally need to work at this.” I really don’t want to be one of those people that say “do as I say, not as I do!”
Just like everything else in life, being healthy and focusing on you is a work in progress. There is no time like the present to focus on cancer prevention - and what a great month to pick to do that, right? I have seen this statistic quoted in numerous places, and it bears repeating. Two-thirds of cancers can be prevented by diet and exercise alone. TWO-THIRDS — that is huge!
Working in healthcare, our schedules tend to go south really quickly. There are emergencies that happen, phone calls to return, and patients to work in. As a result, how many times have you said or heard your co-workers say “I just don’t have time to eat healthy” or “I just didn’t have time to eat lunch today because I was too busy?” Some days may seem like that, but they don’t have to be. It takes some preparation and dedication in order to combat those excuses. So, how can we eat healthier on the job in order to set a good example and help in cancer prevention?
First of all, education is key! I have recently been educating myself more on this topic by listening to a variety of podcasts, reading several articles, and talking with the dietitian at our Survivorship Center about cancer prevention and healthy eating. There are so many good tips and tricks on this topic that we could go on for days! In the essence of time, I have put together a top ten list to help you kick start your journey to a healthier you.
Remember, you must start somewhere, and now is the time! I recently went to a survivorship conference and one of the presenters said “10% of something, is better than 10% of nothing!” Start by focusing on one thing — that is you!