When we think of October, one of the first things that comes to mind is breast cancer awareness month. There are pink ribbons on a variety of different products and breast cancer walks in almost every community. What many people don't know, however, is that October is also Liver Cancer Awareness Month!
Not many people understand liver health and why it is so important. The liver processes what we consume into energy and nutrients that we can actually use, which is why it is considered one of the most important organs in the body! When unhealthy cells begin to grow and spread throughout the liver, that is liver cancer. Liver cancer is most times not diagnosed until its most severe stages as there are not many symptoms. It affects 21,000 Americans every year and this number is on the rise. Despite all these (scary) facts, liver disease does not seem to be talked about. So what can we do?
Firstly, knowing how to take care of yourself and protect your liver is crucial. Here are a few steps you can take to do so.
1. Eat healthy. Eating an unhealthy diet with a lot of fatty foods puts you at a higher risk for liver disease.
2. Limit Alcohol Consumption. Alcohol is very damaging to liver cells and can cause cirrhosis of the liver. Talk to your doctor openly and honestly about your alcohol consumption to help protect yourself.
3. Take Medications Correctly (As Prescribed). Every medication you take (including vitamins and over-the-counter medications) is processed through the liver. Taking medications incorrectly can place a lot of stress on your liver and cause cell damage.
4. Don't Smoke. The toxins in cigarettes and cigarette smoke put you at a higher risk for liver cancer.
This October, we should all make it a goal to educate others that it is Liver Cancer Awareness Month. Together we can spread awareness and help inform others about the steps they can take to maintain their liver health. Breast cancer awareness is important, but let's not forget about the other parts of our bodies as well!