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11.59: Preventing Noninfectious Diseases

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How can you reduce your risk of developing cancer?

You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by staying away from certain hazards. For example, the use of tanning beds can lead to skin cancer.

Preventing Noninfectious Diseases

Most allergies can be prevented by avoiding the substances that cause them. For example, you can avoid pollens by staying indoors as much as possible. You can learn to recognize plants like poison ivy and not touch them. A good way to remember how to avoid poison ivy is "leaves of three, let it be."

Some people receive allergy shots to help prevent allergic reactions. The shots contain tiny amounts of allergens. After many months or years of shots, the immune system gets used to the allergens and no longer responds to them.

Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases cannot be prevented. But choosing a healthy lifestyle can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Getting plenty of exercise, avoiding high-fat foods, and staying at a healthy weight can reduce the risk of developing this type of diabetes. This is especially important for people who have family members with the disease.

Making these healthy lifestyle choices can also help prevent some types of cancer. In addition, you can lower the risk of cancer by avoiding carcinogens , substances that cause cancer. For example, you can reduce your risk of lung cancer by not smoking. You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by using sunscreen. How to choose a sunscreen that offers the most protection is explained below ( Figure below ). Some people think that tanning beds are a safe way to get a tan. This is a myth. Tanning beds expose the skin to UV radiation. Any exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer. It doesn’t matter whether the radiation comes from tanning lamps or the sun.

When you choose a sunscreen, select one with an SPF of 30 or higher. Also, choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA radiation.

Vocabulary

  • carcinogen : Substance that can cause cancer.

Summary

  • A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing many noninfectious diseases.
  • You can lower your risk of cancer by avoiding habits that expose you to carcinogens, such as smoking and tanning beds.

Practice

Use the resource below to answer the questions that follow.

  1. How does knowledge of a patient's genome help doctors treat patients? Be sure to consider all the ways this information can be used?
  2. Why is individualizing medicine particularly important with noninfectious diseases?
  3. Do you think knowing your grandparents' genome could be beneficial to your health? Why or why not?

Review

  1. How can you reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
  2. How can you reduce your risk of developing skin cancer?

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Difficulty Level:

At Grade

Grades:

7 , 8

Date Created:

Nov 29, 2012

Last Modified:

Aug 28, 2014
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