Although cancer is a powerful disease, there are many steps we can take to limit our lifetime risk of developing it. Scientists from Europe came up with this list of 12 steps people can take to decrease their chances of getting the potentially fatal disease. Being aware of these lifestyle choices, and educating your loved ones about them, can keep you and your family healthy.
1. Quit smoking.
One third of all cancers are linked to smoking or using tobacco products. Eliminate cigarettes and you’ll significantly lower your risk of developing cancer.
2. Stay away from secondhand smoke.
Being in the presence of someone who smokes means that you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, which can cause cancer and other diseases. Make your home and your workplace smoke free to keep your loved ones safe!
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
Keeping your weight down is a great way to stave off many cancers, as an unhealthy amount of body fat can increase your chance of developing the disease. Having a healthy body weight typically means remaining active and eating a balanced diet.
4. Exercise daily.
It’s important to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Being active can help reduce your risk of cancer and other health problems.
5. Eat a healthy diet.
Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can work wonders for your health. Avoiding foods high in sugar, salt, and fat, as well as processed and red meats can also help to reduce your risk of cancer.
6. Limit your alcohol consumption.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol is connected to several types of cancer, including mouth, esophageal, throat, liver, colon, and breast. It’s important to limit the amount of alcohol that you drink in order to stave off these deadly cancers.
7. Be careful in the sun.
Too much sun exposure, especially without effective sunscreen, can cause skin cancer. The good news is that this kind of cancer is one of the most preventable! Avoid artificial tanning beds, and protect yourself when you’re outdoors. Stay in the shade as much as you can, and use proper sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30. Keeping an eye on your skin for changes and getting regular skin checks is another way to catch cancer early.
8. Protect yourself from pollutants.
Many professions unfortunately involve exposure to harmful pollutants. It’s important to follow safety precautions to reduce your exposure to cancer-causing substances and protect your overall health.
9. Avoid exposure to radiation.
Increased exposure to the natural gas radon can cause lung cancer. Make sure your home does not contain high radon levels, and if it does, look into getting a radon mitigation system. Also, be mindful any time your doctor orders an x-ray or other scan. Make sure it is absolutely necessary and that there are no alternative options before consenting.
10. Be aware of cancers that affect women.
Breastfeeding for long periods of time can help women to lower their risk of breast cancer. Also, be aware that certain hormone replacement therapies used during menopause can increase your risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. Try to limit these therapies.
Certain cancers are caused by viruses, bacteria, and infection. You can reduce your risk by making sure you and your family are vaccinated against Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus (HPV).
12. Get regular cancer screenings.
Luckily, with the advancement of technology, certain cancers can be identified and treated before they even cause symptoms. Make sure to check the guidelines for cancer screenings and get checked for bowel, breast, cervical, and skin cancers.