Friday, February 22, 2013

Prevention Is The Cure

The cost of medical treatments is in the news these days, thanks to the article published by Time Magazine. One aspect of this that people never talk about is how much cheaper it is to prevent disease than to treat it. In the case of cancer, it may be that prevention is the cure. I am reading The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee right now, which is a biography of cancer and cancer treatment. The author drives home the point that the prevalence of cancer, despite the many methods of treatment and many scientific investigations into cancer treatment, is increasing. Why is this the case? Because we do nothing to prevent cancer. One of the reasons that it was so difficult to identify cigarette smoking as a cause of cancer for so many decades is because it was endemic. It is difficult to identify something as omnipresent as the very air one breathes as a source of disease. Some people still do not believe.

If you are motivated to protect yourself from death by cancer, the best place to begin is prevention. If you don't develop cancer or give your body the tools (vitamins and nutrients) necessary to fight cancer before it takes over, you will not die of cancer. Next most important is early detection. If you catch cancer in stage I or II, it is easier to fight off (yes, with the help of drugs and surgery and so forth) than stage IV. Oh, and also cheaper.

How does one prevent cancer? Our old friends diet and exercise are top of the list. Also don't expose yourself to carcinogens like cigarette smoke, asbestos, radon, x-rays, sun light, all those things you already know are bad. How does one detect cancer early? Be aware of your body: perform self exams as recommended by your doctor. Take advantage of tests you are lucky enough to have provided for you by your medical system.

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