You may have probably heard conflicting reports about cancer prevention. Sometimes a specific cancer-prevention tip recommended in one study is advised against in another. Often, what’s known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, it’s well accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make. So if you are interested in preventing cancer, take comfort in the fact that simple lifestyle changes can make a difference. Consider these cancer-prevention tips.
Ditch the smokes
Every puff of tobacco is packed with 250 harmful chemicals. Nearly 70 of them cause cancer. And it’s more than just lung cancer. Cigarettes are linked to 12 other kinds, including stomach, bladder, kidney, mouth, and throat cancers. The sooner you stop the better for you. Ask your doctor for advice on smoking-quitting methods.
Eat more vegetables
Fruits and vegetables pack an anti-cancer punch because they are high in nutrients and fiber, and low in fat. Try broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, watercress, or other cruciferous vegetables or eat colourful berries. They protect against DNA damage that can turn cells cancerous. Studies show they have cancer-fighting chemicals that ward off damage to cells.
Shed some weight
Extra weight around your middle could add up to a greater chance of having cancer, especially breast, colon, uterus, pancreas, esophagus, and gallbladder cancer. Researchers say one reason may be that fat cells release substances that encourage cancer cells to grow.
Reduce alcohol intake
Alcohol is linked to cancers of the mouth, breast, liver, esophagus, and others. The more you drink, the higher your risk. If you drink, do it in moderation. Women should stick to one drink a day, men up to two.
Cut back on processed meat
Studies show that processed meats, like hot dogs, bacon, and sausage, have chemicals called nitrites and nitrates that may be linked to cancer. And research suggests too much red meat like steak and burgers could be a long-term risk for colorectal cancer. Choose safer alternatives like chicken breast or fish.
Get off the couch
Do you spend too much time lounging around? Cancer prevention is one more reason to get moving. Exercise fights obesity and lowers levels of hormones like estrogen and insulin, which have been linked to cancer. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart pumping on most days of the week. Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney cancer. Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. But for substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity.
Put on Sunscreen
Baking in the sun might give you a healthy-looking glow, but under the surface, UV rays cause skin damage that could lead to cancer. Because you can burn in just 15 minutes, rub on sunscreen before you go outside. Pick a broad-spectrum product with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply whenever you sweat or swim. And when you’re out in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat and wraparound sunglasses.
Practice safe sex
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) aren’t your only worry during unprotected sex. Some of these infections also increase your odds of having cancer. About 70% of cervical cancers start with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18. Some types of hepatitis can cause liver cancer. To stay safe, use a latex condom every time you have sex.
Stay up to date with screenings
Screening tests catch cancer early sometimes even before it starts. A colonoscopy often finds polyps in the colon and rectum before they turn into cancer.
The Pap test locates pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in a woman’s cervix. Mammograms and low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) look for early breast and lung cancers. Ask your doctor when to start getting these tests, and how often you need them.
When it comes to vaccines, think beyond your annual flu shot. Some can protect against cancer, too. Certain HPV vaccines prevent cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus.
The time to get vaccinated is between ages 9 and 26. The hepatitis B vaccine wards off the virus that causes liver cancer.
Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for certain adults at high risk — such as adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, people who use intravenous drugs, men who have sex with men, and health care or public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers as well as squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 and 12.
Know your family history
You inherited more than your mother’s eyes or your father’s grin. They may also have shared their chances for having diseases like cancer. Some genes that parents pass down to their kids have flaws. They don’t repair damaged DNA the way they should, which lets cells turn into cancer. Learn about your family’s medical history and ask your doctor if a genetic test is a good idea for you.
Avoid toxic chemicals
Chemicals called carcinogens damage DNA in your cells and raise your chance of having cancer if you touch, eat, or breathe them in. Asbestos, radon, and benzene are a few that some people come into contact with at work or home.
micals in weed killers, plastics, and some home products may also be risky. You can’t avoid every chemical, but know which ones are in products you use and switch to safer options if you can.
Take medications if you need them
Some drugs lower your odds of getting certain cancers. They can reduce breast cancer risk but may have serious side effects. Aspirin may protect against colorectal and prostate cancers.
e wary, though, of supplements that promise to keep you cancer-free. Many haven’t been proven, and some have side effects.
Be cautious about hormone therapy
It can ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and fatigue, and protect your bones. But hormone therapy may raise your chances of breast cancer and make cancer harder to detect. Ask your doctor about your risks before you try this treatment.