February 13, 2009

Prevent Cancer through Physical Activity!

By Martha Solorzano

At age 45, María Sanchez felt a lump in her breast; she became worried and went to a local community clinic to seek help. María was told by a nurse that it was only a blood clot and that it would disappear in a few weeks. The following year, María was diagnosed with breast cancer at an advanced stage and her complete breast had to be removed in order to save her life. Unfortunately, at that time Maria did not know that early screening could of had prevented her from getting cancer.

Now, María is a cancer survivor and she is always learning about different ways to prevent cancer from invading her life again. She will share some of her top secrets with you. María reads a great magazine called “¡Buena Vida!”, which is aimed at informing Latinos about cancer and how they can prevent it. By reading this magazine she learned that cancer is a disease that causes the growth of abnormal cells that then group into tumors. She also learned that if Latinos do not screen early to detect these tumors, it can severely affect the way the body works and as a result, lead to death. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death among Latinos. However, one third of cancers are preventable. In addition to screening tests, María and the American Cancer Society recommend that you reduce or if possible eliminate alcohol intake, that you quit smoking, and that you maintain a healthy diet plentiful of fruits and vegetables.

Because there is a link between cancer and physical activity, it is extremely important that you adopt and maintain a physically active lifestyle. To stay physically active like María, experts recommends that you do at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on 5 days or more per week. Examples of moderate physical activity include walking, dancing, and gardening whereas vigorous physical activity is more intense and includes running, aerobics, and heavy weight lifting.

Now, just like María, you have a great reason to invite all your friends and family to go for a 30 minute walk every day!

Don’t let cancer affect your life or the life of your loved ones. Remember, stay active, eat healthy, and get screened frequently! Do it for yourself, for your family, and for all those who love you!

For other information about physical activity programs in South bay San Diego, please contact us at: Familias Sanas y Activas (619) 594-2965. This health tip is brought to you by the San Diego Prevention Research Center.

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