Cancer is one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide. The term encompasses a wide range of diseases involving abnormal cell growth that can spread to other parts of the body. Cancer’s unpredictability and high cost of treatment, especially for those who don’t have health insurance, make it one of the most serious diseases today.
According to the World Health Organization, 30 to 50 percent of all diagnosed cancer cases could be avoided by different lifestyle choices. So, if you want to keep away this dangerous disease that is estimated to affect nearly 40% of people at some point during their lives, it’s time to start actively working on its prevention.
Here are seven habits and tips that will help you reduce the risk of developing cancer:
1. Don’t smoke
The harmful effects of tobacco are widespread everywhere, including on the label of the cigarette packets themselves. So you already know that the act of smoking poses a huge threat to your overall health, which should overweight the immediate sense of pleasure and satisfaction provided by the nicotine. Lung cancer is not the only thing smokers need to worry about. The 69 known carcinogenic components of tobacco also contribute to the development of mouth, throat, bladder, larynx cancers, etc. The best way to avoid using tobacco is never to start smoking in the first place. If you’re already a smoker and want to quit this habit, your doctor can help you – some specific strategies and products can make it easier for you to achieve this goal.
2. Eat a balanced and healthy diet
One of the most effective ways to prevent cancer naturally is through a healthy diet. Replacing red meat and saturated fat with vegetables, whole grains, and fruits will drastically decrease colon and prostate cancer risk, two incredibly dangerous forms of cancer. Moreover, people who eat healthy food are less likely to become obese, another major risk factor for some forms of cancer like breast cancer, lung, prostate, colon, and kidney cancer. Of course, there are no miracle cancer prevention foods that you can add to your diet, but you can talk to a nutritionist or a doctor to help you create a balanced diet that will suit your lifestyle and improve your health.
3. Exercise regularly
Apart from the fact that unhealthy diets have become incredibly common, the sedentary lifestyle that many people have nowadays also contributed to the drastic increase in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease cases registered in the last couple of decades. Having a regular workout plan will have a huge impact on the prevention of cancer disease and our overall health, longevity, and quality of life. This doesn’t mean that you have to hit the gym every day. According to health experts, 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five times a week should be enough to keep you in good shape.
4. Use sunscreen and avoid being exposed to UV radiation
Skin cancer is currently the most common worldwide. So much so that it is estimated that 1 in every 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Fortunately, it is also one of the least deadly. The fact that the symptoms are often visible, unlike other forms of cancer, ultimately contributes to the timely detection and treatment’s success. Using an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen every day (and not only during the summer, as most people think) is vital to prevent skin cancer since sunburns are a major risk factor: having more than five sunburns nearly doubles the risk for melanoma. Additionally, you should also avoid being exposed to direct sunlight during peak hours.
5. Don’t drink too much alcohol
There have been several studies about the link between alcohol consumption and cancer. Research has found strong evidence to connect high alcohol consumption with head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and, of course, liver cancer. Excessive alcohol drinking may expose the human body to high amounts of carcinogenic compounds (like acetaldehyde), provoke oxidative damage on proteins, DNA, and lipids, and impair the organism’s ability to break down and absorb key nutrients. Don’t worry; you don’t need to cut alcohol from your life completely. But you need to drink in moderation to avoid its most dangerous side effects – American health entities define moderate alcohol drinking as up to two drink per day for men and one drink per day for women.
6. Get regular checkups and don’t ignore symptoms
As we’ve stated before, early detection is crucial and usually dictates the outcome of most cancer cases. That’s why it is so important to get regular medical care and attend prevention checkups within the deadlines set by your doctor. It is also worth mentioning that many cancer cases could have been detected months earlier if the patient hadn’t ignored certain symptoms and visited the doctor sooner. Unfortunately, this short time window may be enough to turn treatable cancer into a death sentence.
7. Move to an area with cleaner air
Environmental pollution has had a huge impact on public health. It is estimated to have been responsible for more than 4 million premature deaths in 2016, among which are over 250 thousand deaths from lung cancer. Needless to say that moving to a different city or country is not as easy as starting a healthy diet or using sunscreen daily, but since it is an external factor that you have some control over, we decided to include it on this list anyway.