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Dr. Oz: How to Spot and Prevent 5 Kinds of Cancers

Today Dr. Oz tackles the top five cancers that Americans are battling every single day. Some of them you may have heard of, some of them you may have not. This is the show to find out how you can spot and prevent these five cancers: pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, and skin cancer. Dr. Oz will discuss the symptoms we should all be on the look out for, the risk factors that makes us susceptible to these kinds of cancers, and of course, how to decrease our risk of getting these cancers so we can beat them and live longer, healthier lives. (For more cancer signs to be on the lookout for, please also view our recap of another Dr. Oz cancer-prevention episode HERE.) 

Pancreatic Cancer 

Pancreatic Cancer, Dr. Oz says, is one of the most, if not the most, difficult cancer to treat because it is so difficult to detect. Every year, 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and only about 15% of them will be able to beat it. Actor Patrick Swayze and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs are two of the biggest names that have succumbed to this kind of cancer. The difficulty of spotting this cancer lies in it’s location – the pancreas is buried deep inside the abdomen and once a tumor is located it is often too late because it has already spread out to other locations in the body.

Symptoms, Risk Factors, & Prevention:

  • Watch out for these warning signs that may indicate pancreatic cancer: abdominal or back pain, sudden weight loss, clay or white stool, and/or digestive problems.
  • These risk factors also make you more susceptible to contracting the disease: having a family history of pancreatic cancer, having more than one alcoholic beverage a day or  more than two sodas every week, and/or having Type II diabetes as this condition has been linked with a higher chance of getting this kind of cancer.
  • Protect yourself by preventing this cancer from even forming by: eating less fatty red meat, having two servings of red and yellow vegetables to your plate daily, and taking in 750mg daily of curcumin which has been shown to slow or possibly prevent pancreatic cancer.

Brain Cancer

When is a headache more than just a headache? Could it be brain cancer? Patients who have brain tumors report having headaches. It’s important to remember, however, that while headaches are quite common, brain cancer is not as common.

Symptoms, Risk Factors, & Prevention:

  • Watch out for these warning signs that may indicate brain cancer: frequent headaches that wake you up in the middle of the night, blurred vision, problems with balance, tingling sensations in the arms and legs, changes in behavior, seizures, and/or drowsiness.
  • These risk factors also make you more susceptible to contracting the disease: you’re 50 years old and over, you’ve had three or more CAT scans in the neck or head area, you use your cell-phone heavily.
  • Protect yourself by preventing this cancer from even forming by: using an earpiece when using your phone to keep it farther away from your brain, keeping a headache journal noting the length, location, and treatment of your headache, and avoiding pork to lessen your consumption of nitrates which have been linked to brain cancer.

Esophageal Cancer

Got a lump in your throat that never seems to go away? It could be a sign for esophageal cancer. What’s worse is that you may not even know you have a lump in your throat because you may not be able to feel if it’s buried deep inside.

Symptoms, Risk Factors, & Prevention:

  • Watch out for these warning signs that may indicate esophageal cancer: weight loss, constant hiccups, chest pain, early morning hoarseness, and/or difficulty in swallowing.
  • These risk factors also make you more susceptible to contracting the disease: eating a highly acidic diet (especially with foods and drinks like raw tomatoes, raw garlic, breath mints, alcohol, coffee, and even chocolate), smoking, and lying down immediately after eating which will lead to Barrett’s Esophagus which in turn can lead to cancer.
  • Protect yourself by preventing this cancer from even forming by: eating early so you’re not tempted to lie down too soon after having your meal, taking in a PPI (proton pump inhibitor0 and H2 blocker OTC medications to ease heartburn, and getting a nasal esophagoscopy.

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is like pancreatic cancer in that it’s often detected quite late in it’s stages. Even worse, only 10% of liver cancer patients have a survival-rate of five years. The others, unfortunately, aren’t as fortunate to say the least.

Symptoms, Risk Factors, & Prevention:

  • Watch out for these warning signs that may indicate brain cancer: feeling full after eating only a small meal, unintended weight loss, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, anemia, and/or vomiting.
  • This risk factor also make you more susceptible to contracting the disease: your body is in the shape of an apple because these body-types are prone to obesity which lead to higher risks of liver cancer (your waist size should never be more than half your height), alcohol abuse.
  • Protect yourself by preventing this cancer from even forming by: cutting out sugars from your diet (check out our 60 Minutes recap about the “bitter truth about sugar“), and getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B as chronic hepatitis is the most common cause of liver cancer.

Skin Cancer

Melanoma will be diagnosed in over 70,000 Americans in this year alone. Of all the kinds of skin cancer, melanoma is the most dangerous kind. The best kind of treatment for this is finding it as early as possible.

Symptoms, Risk Factors, & Prevention:

  • Watch out for irregular moles, growths, or patches on your skin which may be a sign of a skin cancer like melanoma.
  • These risk factors also make you more susceptible to contracting the disease: you have light hair and eye color which means you don’t have much melanin to protect you from harmful UV rays, and you’ve had more than one really bad sunburn as a child which shocks and teaches your body to overproduce cells.
  • Protect yourself by preventing this cancer by performing Dr. Oz’s 10-second Skin Cancer Test by grabbing a pencil and placing it’s eraser near a mole. Follow the “ABCDE” test below:
    • A: Is it asymmetrical? If it looks exactly like the eraser head (which is symmetrical) then it’s okay.
    • B: Is the border clear and outlined without any fuzzy or bulging edges? It should be.
    • C: What color is it? The mole should be one consistent color.
    • D: How big is the mole? It should be no larger than the eraser itself.
    • E: How many moles do you have now? Next year? Be on the lookout for new and changing moles on your skin.
(For more cancer signs to be on the lookout for, please also view our recap of another Dr. Oz cancer-prevention episode HERE.) 
More of Dr. Oz coming tomorrow as Nerdles continues its mission to give you the best of the best of Dr. Oz news daily. Want more Dr. Oz? Check out our archives HERE.

Image Courtesy of Dr. Oz.

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2 Responses to “Dr. Oz: How to Spot and Prevent 5 Kinds of Cancers”
  1. Katie says:

    15% will beat pancreatic cancer?!? The five year survival rate is barely 6%, a statistic that hasn’t changed significantly in 40 years. More info can be found through the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, http://www.pancan.org

    • Thanks for the update, Katie. And yes, that’s the number we got from this episode of Dr. Oz. We just recap these shows live and in the moment, and we went over the tape, and “15%” is what he said. Thanks again.