Cancer Prevention: How to Lower Your Risk

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“Cancer prevention is the practice of taking active measures to decrease the incidence of cancer and mortality.[1][2] The practice of prevention is dependent upon both individual efforts to improve lifestyle and seek preventative screening…”

According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), approximately 42 million people across the world have suffered from some form of cancer. While cancer prevention is still evolving, it is widely believed a person’s lifestyle choices can determine their likelihood of developing the condition. 

If you want to do everything you can to ensure you are never diagnosed with the disease, find out how to lower your risk.

Enjoy a Low-Calorie Diet

Being obese or overweight can increase your chances of developing a serious medical condition, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. It has also been associated with a greater risk of cancer. 

If you are overweight, you can aim to lose weight through a low-calorie diet, and prevent a cancer diagnosis. For example, you could embark on intermittent fasting or a ketogenic diet.

Quit Tobacco as Soon as Possible

Cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco can all produce tobacco smoke, which features thousands of chemicals – and at least 70 of them, known as carcinogens, have been found to cause cancer.

Just some of the chemicals you will find in tobacco include:

  • Nicotine
  • Arsenic
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrogen cyanide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Lead
  • Ammonia

In addition to causing cancer, they can also cause lung disease and heart disease. It is, therefore, important to stop smoking immediately to reduce your risk of developing a form of cancer. 

Even if you do not use tobacco, you must avoid second-hand smoke to protect your health.

Become More Physically Active

It is widely believed that maintaining a healthy weight could prevent various forms of cancer, such as breast, lung, prostate, kidney and colon cancer. 

While a healthy diet is essential, it is believed physical activity can also lower the chances of colon and breast cancer, as well as diabetes, stroke, and ischemic heart disease.

To enjoy substantial health benefits, aim to experience a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. 

Successfully Protect Your Skin from the Sun

One of the most common varieties of cancer in the world is skin cancer, which is commonly caused by cumulative sun exposure. To shield your skin, you must:

  • Stay out of the midday sun (sunrays are strongest from 10am to 4pm)
  • Sit in the shade when outdoors 
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Cover exposed areas of the skin (opt for bright or dark colors to reflect ultraviolet radiation)
  • Apply a minimum SPF of 30 – even on a cloudy day (reapply every two hours)
  • Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds

Regular Self-Exams and Screenings

It is vital both men and women perform regular self-exams to potentially detect cancer, such as on your breasts, testicles, and skin. 

There are, however, certain areas of your body you will be unable to check on your own, which is why you must routinely book both cervix and colon cancer screenings, which can improve your chances of catching cancer in its early stages. 

If in doubt, discuss the different cancer screening options for your needs and age range with your doctor.

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