POINT PLEASANT — Those with a fine attention to detail know that the smallest thing can have the biggest impact in many situations, but particularly when it comes to preventing cancer.
During Tuesday’s Mason County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, several simple lifestyle changes were covered which can have a large impact on someone’s life and their potential interactions with cancer and other diseases. Michelle Stevens, Mission Delivery Account Manager with the American Cancer Society, was the featured speaker and discussed two major concerns which were tobacco use and protecting your skin.
Stevens stated that tobacco use, specifically smoking, causes lung cancer and can also lead to several other kinds of cancer. Stevens also discussed the West Virginia Tobacco Quitline, which works to help those wishing to quit using tobacco products. It was reported that 20 minutes after quitting, a person’s blood pressure and pulse drop. Eight hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide in one’s blood drops to a normal level. 24 hours after quitting, one’s chances of having a heart attack go down, and 48 hours after quitting, one’s ability to smell and taste start to improve. For more on this Quitline, call 1-800-Quit-Now.
Another big concern in today’s society that Stevens discussed is protecting one’s skin. Stevens stated that the skin is the body’s biggest organ and skin cancer is the most popular form of cancer, even though many commonly think it may be lung cancer. She continued, saying that freckles are a sign of skin damage and even sunburns received before the age of 18 can lead to skin cancer as an adult. It is recommended that citizens wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. She also encourages people to be familiar with their own body and if any changes are noticed on the skin, such as darkening spots or moles, to have it checked with their doctor.
“That’s our goal at the American Cancer society, to save lives,” Stevens said.
Stevens also provided those attending with many tidbits of information in attempts to shed some light on the other unhealthy lifestyles choices many Americans often make. Stevens stated that in the United States on any given day, the following items are consumed: three million gallons of ice cream, 815 billion calories, 47 million hotdogs, four million pounds of bacon, 170 million eggs, 16 million gallons of beer, and 1.5 million gallons of hard liquor. Stevens added the 1.5 million gallons of hard liquor was enough to make 26 million people drunk.
Stevens also discussed many small changes one can make concerning food consumption that can help Americans be healthier. She stated adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week, and children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week. It was also reported that physical activity doesn’t only include typical activities that are considered “exercise” like running or walking. Other activities can include swimming, gardening, doing housework, and dancing.
Stevens also discussed eating enough fruits and vegetables as well. She continued, saying people should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, as well as covering a limit on alcohol. It was reported that men should have no more than two drinks a day and women should have no more than one drink a day. Stevens added that “one drink” is considered to be 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one and a half ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Stevens also discussed the support the American Cancer Society offers every day to anyone that is affected by cancer in any way, stating that programs and information is free. For more information programs offered by the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org, or call 1-800-227-2345.