While there are many confusing reports on how to lower your chances of getting cancer, it’s well-accepted that making healthier lifestyle changes is beneficial. Although some people may still get cancer despite doing everything ‘right,’ experts say that many types of cancers are preventable by avoiding the contributing factors that are under our control.
1. Exercise Regularly
When exercising, you’re not just making your body fit, you’re also reducing your risk of some types of cancers. Healthy adults are recommended to have physical activities for at least 45 minutes each day. But you don’t have to go to the gym and lift weights to fulfill this requirement. Activities such as walking or gardening are believed to reduce your risk of cancer. Even those who’ve had cancer may still benefit from doing exercises and prevent a recurrence.
2. Learn About Your Family’s Medical History
If your family has a history of cancer, it doesn’t mean that you just accept it and anticipate that you’ll also have one soon. Understanding your family’s medical history will help you in making better choices so that you can prevent cancer. You can spend some time creating a complete family history that includes chronic diseases and the types of cancer that your relatives have or have had in the past. On your next visit to your doctor, you can show them your list, which they can use to determine your medical risks and susceptibilities. More importantly, it’ll help them create a tailored care plan that will help you avoid the diseases that you are more at risk for.
If your family’s medical history does include cancer, your doctor may recommend screening, which can help detect cancers in their early stages before they spread. You can go to this website to learn more about advanced full-body screening for cancer.
3. Include Fruits And Vegetables In Your Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet has many benefits. Including fruits and vegetables in your diet can significantly reduce your risks of many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants, which are known to help repair damaged cells and protect the body from free radicals. Consider eating radishes, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and berries. Fruits and vegetables also contain fiber and phytochemicals known to fight diseases.
4. Reduce Intake Of Red Meat And Processed Meats
Diets that contain high levels of animal fat are linked to different types of cancer such as colon cancer. And while too much red meat is already considered unhealthy, consumption of processed and packaged meats poses an even greater risk.
However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to avoid these foods altogether, you just have to remember that eating in moderation is the key. You should also take note of the best ways to prepare them. Marinating meat before grilling is one way to reduce carcinogens, a substance that causes cancer, which is also found in red meat. Trimming fats off your red meat may also help reduce your risks of heart diseases, colon, and breast cancer.
Fatty foods are also known to enhance the production of hormones that encourage the growth of cancer. In a 2010 study, it was found that vegetarians have less probability of getting cancer compared to people who regularly include red meat in their diet.
5. Quit Smoking And Avoid Smoke Exposure
Smoking is a cancer-related factor you can control. It causes not only lung cancer but also other forms of non-pulmonary cancer. If you’ve never smoked in your life, don’t even think about trying it. But if you’re already into it, you should quit as early as you can to give your body a chance to recover from the damages.
For non-smokers, remember that exposure to secondhand smoke can be so much worse than smoking. If someone in your home smokes, make sure to prohibit them from smoking inside the house. If they come home reeking of cigarette smoke, ask them to change their clothes immediately.
6. Wear Sun Protection
Skin cancer is a common type of cancer that’s preventable. To minimize your risk of getting skin cancer, here are some things you can do:
- Avoid noontime sun. Don’t stay under the sun too long between 10 AM and 4 PM. These are the times when the sun’s rays are strongest and can do more damage to your skin.
- Find shade. When you’re outdoors on a sunny day, always stay under a shade. It’ll also help to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Cover exposed skin. When you have to stay outside for long hours, consider wearing loose-fitting clothes made of tightly woven fabric. Also, choose clothing that can cover as much skin as possible. If possible, go for light colors, which are great for reflecting heat and light.
- Use sunscreen. Don’t forget to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when you go outdoors, even during cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously at least thirty minutes before going out and reapply after every two hours. If you’re going swimming, reapply sunscreen more often.
- Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds. While it’s nice to get some tan when you feel you look pale, tanning beds and sunlamps are just as damaging as the sun’s rays. You can just opt for artificial tans, or sunbathe with lower SPF an hour each day for a few days.
7. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Excessive alcohol intake increases cancer risks, and it’s no surprise. If you’re a heavy drinker, try to limit your intake to just one glass a day. If you find it difficult, don’t hesitate or feel embarrassed to seek professional help. There are many treatment options you can try and many of them are even offered free.
8. Get Vaccinated
Preventing cancer also includes protecting yourself against viral infections that are linked to certain cancers. Consult your doctor about getting vaccinated for the following:
- HPV or human papillomavirus. This virus can be sexually transmitted and can lead to genital and cervical cancers. It can also lead to squamous cell cancers of the neck and head. HPV vaccines can be given to boys and girls aged 11 and 12. There are also vaccines that can be given to those aged nine to 45.
- Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B increases your risk of getting liver cancer. The vaccine can be given to adults who have a high risk of getting the disease such as those who are sexually active with multiple partners, people with sexually transmitted infections, health care workers who could be exposed to infected body fluids, and those who engage in male-to-male sexual activities.
9. Practice Safe Sex
As mentioned, HPV can cause various types of cancer. Practicing safe sex, therefore, can reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. Limit the number of your sexual partners and always use a condom for oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
Although there’s no absolute guarantee when it comes to protecting yourself against cancer, regular screening and healthy lifestyle changes may help keep your body healthy and significantly minimize your risk for cancer. Talking to your doctor about your family’s medical history will also help you understand better how to avoid diseases that you’re most at risk for.