If you are a cancer survivor you know that cancer prevention can consume your life. However, recent research shows that approximately half of all cancer survivors die of non-cancer causes. This new research shows that cancer survivors should not only worry about new cancer development but should also be concerned with taking preventative steps to protect their overall health.
Cancer Prevention isn’t the Only Concern…
The researchers evaluated 1,807 cancer survivors that had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys Study (NHANES). Breast, prostate, cervical, lung and colorectal cancer development were the most common form of cancer in the study group. The participants in the study were followed for more than 18 years. Over the course of the study, 776 of the participants died – 51% from cancer and 49% from non-cancer causes. Heart disease was the most common cause of non-cancer death in the group, accounting for over two thirds of the non-cancer deaths. Chronic lung diseases were responsible for 15%, Alzheimer’s disease 4% and diabetes 4% of non-cancer related deaths. The researchers found that the longer a survivor lived after the initial cancer development and diagnosis, the more likely they were to die from another disease.
The researchers state that once cancer development has been diagnosed, doctors as well as survivors pay less attention to taking preventative steps to protect against other diseases and complications; the focus is usually placed on cancer prevention. The researchers stress that with nearly half of all cancer survivors dying of an un-related condition, preventative measures should be taken to protect other aspects of their health. A more wholistic approach addressing cancer prevention as well as other preventative measures for good health should be established with cancer survivors.
Development of Cancer is Still Scary
Many of the steps for cancer prevention, including not smoking, reducing exposure to alcohol, exercising regularly as well as eating a healthy diet are also preventative steps to take to protect against other health conditions. Since heart disease accounts for over two thirds of non-cancer related deaths in survivors, taking preventative measures to prevent this disease is vital. Preventative measures that you can take to prevent heart disease include:
- Eating a heart healthy diet
- Regularly exercising
- Decreasing cholesterol levels
- Managing stress
- Quitting smoking
- Managing blood pressure
- Controlling diabetes
- Maintaining a healthy weight
By implementing these preventative measures against heart disease, you are decreasing your risk of death from this condition, as well as others including cancer.
If you are a cancer survivor, cancer prevention is always going to be in the forefront of your mind. Taking steps to prevent future cancer development is important, but taking other preventative health steps is just as important to your overall health and well-being.