Friday, August 10, 2018

Physical Activity Lowers Cancer Risk - More People Should Probably Know That

A new study has found that a large majority of the public may be unaware that lack of physical activity can increase the risk of cancer.

The study, out of Washington University in St. Louis and published Wednesday in the Journal of Health Communication, included a diverse sample of participants who were asked to list three diseases caused by physical inactivity. Just three percent of 351 respondents listed cancer, while over 60 percent listed diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.

These findings add to those of other studies and surveys that have shown that: while many people know that a healthy lifestyle overall can help prevent cancer, many are often unsure about the exact types of behaviors that can lower cancer risk.

A 2017 American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) survey, for example, found that the vast majority of respondents knew that smoking and sun exposure increased cancer risk, yet well under half identified physical inactivity as a risk factor.

There is a large amount evidence, however, showing the benefit of regular physical activity in relation to cancer.  It can lower the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer. It can help with weight control - a key cancer risk factor. And in cancer survivors, it can improve mood, boost energy level, and possibly lower the chance of recurrence.

Physical activity has been an integral part of the Siteman Cancer Center's Your Disease Risk tool since its launch in 2000, and regular physical activity is recommended throughout Siteman's 8IGHT WAYS cancer series (see below).

Erika Waters, lead author of the Washington University study and Associate Professor of Surgery at the School of Medicine, commented: "People might be more likely to exercise if they understand just how important physical activity is to their overall health - not just their heart health."


Friday, August 3, 2018

For World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks

Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) lowers the risk of breast cancer. It also has great health benefits for the child. Unfortunately, as natural a thing as breastfeeding is, it doesn’t always naturally fit into today’s modern society. While things are certainly better than they were -- with more understanding workplaces and day care providers -- moms still often need to work hard to make it work.

Tips and Tricks – Breastfeeding

Start early and ask for help. Breastfeeding has the best chance of success when it’s started early, and this usually means beginning an hour or less after the baby is born. Many hospitals help mothers initiate breastfeeding, but it’s also best to let the delivery nurses know your desire to breastfeed your baby. If you have questions, ask. If you have problems, ask. Many hospitals offer great support for new moms who want to breastfeed – not only in the hours after birth, but the days, weeks, and months after as well.

Don’t be shy. Even though there are still a few vocal opponents to breastfeeding in public, put them at the back your mind, and charge forward and breastfeed when and where you need to. Job interviews and work meetings may not be the best venues to do so, but most other places are just fine.

Coordinate with your workplace and day care provider. Going back to work is just a fact of life for most new moms, and balancing work and breastfeeding can be a real challenge. A large percentage of new moms are interested in breastfeeding their children, and employers and day cares have taken note, offering much better resources than they used to. If you’re unsure about the resources available to you, ask. The human resources office is a good place to start.

Next Steps – Breastfeeding

Looking for more in-depth information on breastfeeding? Here are some good sources:

La Leche League

United States Department of Labor

National Conference of State Legislatures