Taking steps to prevent cancer

I had the sad experience of watching one of my friends bury his little brother a few months back.

The brother didn’t party hard, smoke or do drugs; he took care of himself, was responsible and even had a newborn son.

He didn’t die from a freak accident either; he died from cancer.

The old six degrees of separation, cancer comparison – almost everyone knows someone who’s had cancer – is true and there are many who have had and survived cancer in Grand Forks, including Mayor Brian Taylor.

Cancer isn’t prejudiced and can strike anyone of any age, whether child, teenager or adult. It can form in the lungs, brain, bones, bladder and pancreas amongst other places and severity can range depending on what type of cancer it is.

While advances are being made to treatment, the BC Cancer Agency says that prevention is best; 50 per cent of cancer forms are preventable, it says.

Diet, the amount of exercise you get, whether one smokes and the amount of exposure to sunlight can all be factors in whether one gets cancer or not.

Thinking about all those who have been diagnosed with cancer has me thinking about my own mortality.

Who’s to say I won’t get cancer? I’ve been pretty much exercising and working out regularly since I was 19 years old, so I really don’t have to change anything in the activity department, although more exercise wouldn’t hurt.

I’m not about to become a vegetarian or a vegan and cut meat out of my diet but I’m really watching what I eat and adding more fish and making sure I get plenty of greens and fruit in my diet on a daily basis.

I’m cutting down on white bread and going for ones that have more grains and am also trying to cut down on the amount of processed food I consume as well.

Even with my exercising and improvements to my diet, there are no guarantees that I won’t get cancer but there are other benefits to a better diet and increased activity.

I feel better and have more energy to get through my day.

– Karl Yu is associate editor of the Grand Forks Gazette