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Here’s how you can protect yourself, according to Prevention magazine:

  • If you think something’s wrong, get it checked out ASAP. That’s the word from oncologist Dr. Julie Silver, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. She says she had a nagging suspicion that something was wrong for nearly two years… But she felt embarrassed to keep pushing her doctors to do more tests after two mammograms turned up “normal.” Dr. Silver now believes that if she’d persisted more, her tumor could have been found sooner, and treatment could have been handled faster. So, never be afraid to be pushy – because nobody knows your body better than YOU.
  • Always share your experiences with loved ones. That’s the word from Dr. David Johnson, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1989. He says he was reluctant to talk about his illness with his wife and daughter, because he thought it might worry them too much.

But a growing body of research now suggests that having a strong social support system could improve your odds of surviving cancer. That’s because your loved ones will always be there to encourage you to work harder during treatment.

  • Rethink your idea of a “normal” health routine. That’s a lesson Dr. Carolyn Runowicz learned after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. Before that, she says her idea of a “normal” day was drinking gallons of coffee, and eating out of the hospital’s snack machine! But cancer forced her to rethink those bad lifestyle habits. Now, Dr. Runowicz says her new “normal” involves working out as much as possible, and maintaining a strict Mediterranean diet. She says, the sooner you adopt a healthy lifestyle, the better off you’ll be.