According to the American Cancer Society, 18 percent of cancers in the US are related to poor nutrition, excess alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and excess body weight. Nearly half of the cancer deaths worldwide are preventable. While there is no surefire way to prevent cancer, some lifestyle changes can be made to reduce the risk.
Here are some helpful tips to reduce cancer risk:
- Eating a healthy diet focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes while minimizing processed foods, red meat, and fast food.
- Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight with at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week and muscle-strengthening activities twice a week.
- Quitting smoking as it causes about 25 per cent of all cancer diagnoses and 30 per cent of all cancer deaths in the US.
- Limiting alcohol consumption, which is a carcinogen and increases cancer risk. Your cancer risk increases if you are also a smoker.
- Protecting skin from the sun’s rays with sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses year-round.
- Scheduling preventative screenings and routine medical care to detect cancer early.
- Asking healthcare providers about vaccinations for the hepatitis B virus and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which can increase cancer risk.
- Testing homes for radon gas, which increases lung cancer risk.
- Considering genetic testing if at risk for hereditary cancer syndrome.
Helpful tip- Write down your reasons for wanting to reduce your alcohol consumption and consider the positive impact it will have on your health and various areas of your life. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need additional assistance.
Remember, not all cancer prevention is in our control, but adopting a healthier lifestyle can go a long way in reducing cancer risk. Keep this list handy and take steps toward cancer prevention this National Cancer Prevention Month.
Source: Oncology Hematology Care, Inc (USA, 2023)