Cancer Prevention: 12 Lifestyle Tips to Reduce your Risk
TEN (10) STEPS YOU NEED TO UNDERTAKE FOR THE PREVENTION OF CANCER
1. Avoid tobacco in all its forms, including exposure to secondhand smoke. SECONDHAND SMOKE IS THE COMBINATION OF SMOKE FROM THE BURNING END OF A CIGARETTE AND THE SMOKE BREATHED OUT BY SMOKERS. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer. Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion.
2. Eat a sustainable/ well-balanced plant-based diet. Reduce your consumption of saturated fat and red meat, which may increase the risk of colon cancer and a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. Too much iron in red meat can take part in the production of the most dangerous free radical in the body (hydroxyl radical). Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
3. Exercise regularly. Physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer. Exercise also appears to reduce a woman’s risk of breast and possibly reproductive cancers. Exercise helps protecting our even if it doesn’t cause any weight lost.
4. Be fit and try to stay lean. Overweight and obesity increase the risk of many forms of cancer. Calories count; if you want lose weight, take in fewer calories and burn more with exercise.
5. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to an average of one drink a day for women and 2 for men. Excess alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract (mouth, larynx, and esophagus), liver, and colon; it also increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, especially when folate intake is inadequate. SMOKING FURTHER INCREASES THE RISK OF MANY ALCOHOL-INDUCED MALIGNANCIES.
6. Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. Get medical imaging studies (X-rays) only when you need them. If possible, check your home for residential radon, which increases the risk of lung cancer. Protect yourself from EXCESSIVE ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, which increases the risk of melanomas and other skin cancers. BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION FROM HIGH-VOLTAGE POWER LINES OR RADIOFREQUENCY RADIATION FROM MICROWAVES AND CELL PHONES. THEY DO NOT CAUSE CANCER.
7. Avoid exposure to industrial and environmental toxins such as asbestos fibers, benzene (this may come from interaction of sodium benzoate and vitamin C in fruit drinks and fruit preserves), aromatic amines (from grilled, overcooked and fried food), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
8. Avoid infections that contribute to cancer, including hepatitis viruses, HIV, and the human papillomavirus. Many are transmitted sexually or through contaminated needles. Practice safe sex
9. Make quality sleep a priority. Admittedly, the evidence linking sleep to cancer is not strong. But poor and insufficient sleep increases is associated with weight gain, which is a cancer risk factor. Insufficient sleep increases the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause lots of diseases, including cancer.
10. Get enough vitamin D. Many experts now recommend 800 to 1,000 IU a day, a goal that’s nearly impossible to attain without taking a supplement. Although protection is far from proven, evidence suggests that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer, and other malignancies. BUT DON’T COUNT ON OTHER SUPPLEMENTS. It is better to get your vitamin D from sunlight, but without overexposure.
11. Get vaccinated: There are some vaccine preventable cancers like liver cancer (caused by hepatis B) and cervical cancer (cervarix or gardasil for human papilloma virus). Please ensure you get these vaccines.
12. Regular Screening: See your doctor at intervals to screen you for some form of cancers like breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancers and skin cancers. This screening sometimes may involve physical evaluation, blood tests and radiological studies. Also, whenever you notice a swelling in your breast or testes, see a doctor.
Credit: Harvard Medical School