“Cancer” is one of the most frightening words an individual can hear from their doctor. Unfortunately, it appears a cancer diagnosis is becoming a more frequent occurrence.
What most people don’t realize is that while there are no guarantees, they can reduce their risks of developing this disease – particularly certain types of cancer – by making some lifestyle changes. Learning more about the 8 things that most people don’t know about reducing their risk of cancer can help save lives and provide peace of mind that you are doing whatever you can to protect yourself.
While most people see cancer screenings as a way to detect cancer in its early stages, in order to treat it more effectively, they can also be beneficial in preventing the disease in the first place. Cancerous cells are often the result of changes in the body. Cancer screenings can often detect some of these changes, allowing medical professionals to stop the progression of pre-cancerous cells into full-blown cancer. Early detection is the key to curing many types of cancer, so skipping out on screenings is never a good idea.
You’ve likely seen suggestions about eating more fruits and vegetables as a way of reducing risk of cancer as well as other disease. While this is part of it, there are other diet changes you should consider to even further improve your outlook. Switching to whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat (check the label carefully), as well as eating more chicken and fish and less red meat, can lower your risk of certain cancers. Cooking with canola or olive oil is also recommended. Also, consider cutting out fast food and pre-packaged foods as much as possible.
Consider Daily Aspirin
Starting an aspirin regimen is not recommended without a doctor’s recommendation, but it can lower your risk of cancer. Most people are aware taking an aspirin a day can help with heart problems, but few are aware of the cancer benefits as well. A daily aspirin can reduce a woman’s future risk of developing ovarian cancer. Always talk to your doctor before starting this regimen to ensure it doesn’t put you at risk for other health problems.
It’s well known that spending too much time in the sun and not protecting your skin can greatly increase the chance of developing skin cancer, particularly the dangerous melanoma. The risk also extends to tanning beds and has led to more people turning to spray-on tans and other artificial methods of darkening their skin. Many of these processes are broadcast as safe options, but this isn’t the case. Chemicals often used in these products could also increase the risk of various cancers. For this reason, it’s best to skip out on the tan, use sunscreen, and stick to your natural skin color.
Get the HPV Vaccine
The HPV vaccine (human papillomavirus) is still relatively new in the medical field, and many continue to question whether they should get it before scientists fully examine the long-term effects. While most people understand HPV can lead to cervical cancer, few people realize it is also connected to other cancers including an increased risk for cancer of the anus, penis, vagina, or even throat. The HPV vaccine can lower these risks.
Go for a Walk
Exercise is critical to overall health and well-being. However, this doesn’t mean you must spend hours at the gym every week to reduce your risks of certain cancers. For many people, simply taking a 30 minute walk every day can be enough exercise to lower risk. This is particularly true for many female reproductive cancers since the simple act of walking lowers the amount of estrogen present in the blood, and lower levels may reduce risks of certain cancers.
In general, alcohol is often painted in a poor light due to the misuse of it. When used in moderation, however, studies have found alcohol to be an effective method of reducing the risks of some cancers. Over the years, studies have revealed drinking small amounts of alcohol can eliminate certain infections that have been tied to an increased risk of cancer. However, the same studies warn against drinking more than one or two drinks daily because excessive alcohol can instead increase the risks of cancer.
Watch Your Produce
There’s a reason for the rise in the demand for organic foods. To boost food production, many farmers are using several pesticides and other chemicals. Unfortunately, these products may remain on the food or be absorbed by the food, leading to an impact on cancer risk. However, it’s important to recognize that the organic food market isn’t fully regulated, which means foods aren’t guaranteed pesticide-free. For this reason, it’s important to always fully wash produce before eating it.
No one wants to hear they or a loved one has cancer. While there is no way to fully prevent an individual from developing cancer, there are steps you can take in your life to reduce your risks. When you make certain changes to your diet, get proper exercise and make a few other minor lifestyle changes, you can feel more comfortable that you’re doing everything you can to keep your body safe and reduce your chances of hearing those dreaded words from your doctor.