Don’t Worry. Be Healthy!

Do you worry about getting cancer? Some days, the many heart-tugging stories of people on challenging cancer journeys make it feel inevitable that most of us will one day join their ranks. In fact, a third of all cancers are preventable. There are steps you can take today that may improve your odds of avoiding cancer in your lifetime.

We know what not to do – No smoking, No tobacco products. Avoid excessive tanning and other high risk behaviors. I like this not-so-famous quote of Robert Herrick, a 16th century poet: “In (all) things a moderation keep; Kings ought to shear, not skin, their sheep.”

But there are also things we can do to decrease our risk of cancer.

  1. Know your family history; review and discuss with your primary physician
  2. Get screened – Pap smears, colonoscopy, mammography, and digital rectal exams save lives
  3. Monitor skin lesions – alert your doctor if you have a mole that is irregular, dark, bumpy and growing, bleeding or changing
  4. Take better care of ourselves with regular rest and exercise and a healthy diet.

Certain foods have been found to be beneficial in preventing cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), your dinner plate should be two-thirds filled with vegetables, fruits and whole grains and one-third with “animal protein.” Try to limit red meat, or at least keep it on the lean side. The more colorful the fruits and vegetables, the better. Green is definitely the way to go when it comes to vegetables that are good for you – think broccoli, spinach and leafy lettuce. Your best bet in cancer-preventing fruits are strawberries, blueberries and cantaloupe. Also, limit your salt and alcohol consumption. The AICR suggests that if you do choose to drink, make your limits one drink a day or women and two for men.

Bottom line: live your life the best you can. Worrying is a waste of time! 

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre thanks Spectrum Health Cancer Center for being an artistic partner for Calendar Girls. They have brought wonderful awareness to this important production and continue to provide personalized, quality care for those battling cancer. Find out more at