What can we do to lower my Risk of getting Cancer?
August 26, 2019
Cancer is often unpredictable, but there are things everyone can do to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it. What’s more, some same behaviors can also help lower your risk for other serious diseases, and boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.
1) Maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet, and stay active:
Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many cancers, including breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, esophagus, and pancreatic cancer. You can control your weight through regular exercise and healthy eating.
Physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, endometrium, prostate, and colon cancer. It also reduces the risk of other serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (equal to a brisk walk) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (makes your heartbeat and breathing faster, and makes you sweat) each week, preferably spread throughout the week.
- Kids should get at least 1 hour of moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity at least 3 days a week.
Studies show that eating a variety of different vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and fish or poultry is linked with a lower risk of developing certain cancers. On the other hand, eating more processed and red meat is linked with a higher risk of developing certain cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends:
- Eating at least 2 and half cups of vegetables and fruits each day
- Eating less red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) and less processed meat (bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and hot dogs)
- Choosing breads, pastas, and cereals made from whole grains instead of refined grains, and brown rice instead of white
- Eating fewer sweets
2) Limit alcohol: Research has shown that alcohol can increase your risk for certain kinds of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon and rectal cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk.
3) Protect your skin from UV exposure:
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer. There are two types of UV radiation:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA): UVA radiation can pass through glass. Research suggests that it may:
- Cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin
- Play a role in causing basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma
- Ultraviolet B (UVB): UVB does not pass through car windows or other types of glass. UVB radiation:
- is more closely linked with the development of skin cancer and melanoma
- causes sunburn
It is important to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB radiations.
4) Eliminate tobacco use: The use of tobacco products has been linked to many types of cancer, including lung, colorectal, breast, throat, cervical, bladder, mouth and esophageal. It’s never too late to quit. About 90 percent of all lung cancer is related to smoking. Non-smokers who are exposed to smoking are also at risk for lung cancer and other respiratory conditions.
5) Limit Exposure to Environmental Risk Factors:
Environmental exposures to pollutants and occupational agents can increase a person’s risk of cancer. For example, radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Other examples of environmental cancer risk factors include asbestos, lead, radiation, and benzene. According to the World Health Organization, environmental risk factors account for nearly 20 percent of all cancers, globally, most of which occur in low- and middle-income countries.