The more that is known and researched about cancer, the easier it is to spread information about cancer risk. These days, it’s easier to understand your cancer risk, especially if you have a family history of the disease. But you might still be confused about how to address your cancer risk beyond living healthy.
When it comes to cancer risk, there are a few elements you should understand before despairing completely. These steps can help you gain some perspective and tackle the risk head-on.
How to Understand Cancer Risk
Just as with any statistical risk, a risk of cancer does not guarantee that you will have cancer in your lifetime. However, depending on your age, gender, family history, or health habits, the likelihood of cancer could increase significantly.
It’s important, as well, to understand “absolute risk” and “relative risk.” An absolute risk involves a percentage possibility of a group contracting cancer in a specified amount of time. Relative risk is a comparative ratio that will show you the likelihood of one group contracting cancer as opposed to another.
Discuss Your Risk with Your Doctor
While risk assessment and statistics do provide helpful information, it’s important to understand that your health history is unique and not captured entirely by percentages. Always discuss your risk for disease with a medical professional who is familiar with your health and family history.
Only a medical professional can properly assess how you can reduce the risk of cancer in your life, or whether or not these risks are reducible, especially if you have a family history of the disease.
Understand the Context of Cancer Risk
A risk for cancer is a single statistic among your entire health history. The human body is a complicated subject and can be affected by any number of factors at any given time. So, it’s impossible to state with absolute certainty that you will ever contract cancer.
Additionally, the observational research that determines cancer risk only scratches the surface of our understanding of the disease. Whenever you encounter facts or statistics about cancer risk, make sure to understand the aims, the size, and the purpose of a research study. If you believe a study strongly applies to your situation, always discuss with your doctor before drawing any conclusions.
Apply for a Cancer Insurance Policy
If you have discussed the issue with your doctor and believe you’re significantly at risk for cancer in your lifetime, it is always an option to apply for an additional cancer insurance policy in your health insurance plan.
A cancer insurance policy can help you manage the external expenses involved in cancer treatment, such as travel, home care, and lodging. Additionally, it helps you have extra financial breathing room should you ever have to deal with cancer in your lifetime.
For High-Risk Patients, Examine Your Options
A high-risk percentage for cancer isn’t the full story. Patients who understand their own risk properly can take active steps to address this risk should the need arise.
Beyond that, coordinating with your doctor and health insurance can help you gain perspective on the factors that are contributing to your high risk.
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