10 Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Your Cancer Risk
Millions of people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year, making it a continued leading cause of death. Though cancer is unpredictable and many risk factors such as genetics and age are out of your control, there are still some risk factors that you can manage to do your part in protecting your health and your body from cancer.
Take a look at these ten lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk of cancer:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a common risk factor for a multitude of cancers. If you're overweight, try slimming down by consuming fewer daily calories and burning calories with regular exercise. Speak with your doctor about best practices to manage your weight.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
Eating a nutrient-rich and diverse diet can help lessen your risk of cancer. Try consuming more nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean meats while limiting your processed foods and sugar intake to maintain a healthy diet.
Stay Physically Active
Getting your regular recommended amount of exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, lessen your risk of heart disease, and protect you from cancer. In general, aim to get up and get your body moving for at least 30 minutes every day.
Manage Your Alcohol Consumption
Drinking large quantities of alcohol frequently can leave you at a higher risk for many types of cancer. Though the healthiest option is to cut out alcohol entirely to ensure your risk remains as low as possible, consuming no more than one drink a day and avoiding binge drinking can significantly reduce your risk.
Using tobacco products of any kind can drastically leave you more vulnerable to developing lung, mouth, throat, and many other cancer types. If you don’t currently use tobacco, don’t start and avoid secondhand smoke. If you currently use tobacco products, seek help to quit.
Protection from certain viral infections can also protect you from cancer. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against hepatitis and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Avoid Risky Behaviors
Avoiding certain risky behaviors can help reduce your risk for cancer. For example, always practice safe sex by using condoms and taking other protective measures to reduce your chances of getting sexually transmitted infections, HIV, or HPV, since these individuals are at a higher risk for cancer. In addition, to avoid HIV and other diseases like hepatitis B or hepatitis C, never share needles with those who use intravenous drugs.
Protect Your Skin From The Sun
Skin cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer types, and it is also one of the most preventable. Keep yourself protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher while outside and reapply every hour. In addition, wear protective clothing, enjoy more time in the shade while outdoors, and avoid using tanning beds or sunlamps.
Test Your Home’s Radon Levels
After tobacco use, radon exposure is one of the most common causes of lung cancer because it can damage your lungs when inhaled. Radon, an odorless radioactive gas produced from decaying uranium found in soil, can enter your home through cracks in the floors or walls and go unidentified unless tested.
Get Regular Cancer Screenings
Even if you follow all the above tips, it's still entirely possible to develop cancer in your lifetime, so regular self-exams and screenings with a doctor to look for any symptoms are crucial to staying healthy and early diagnosis. Catching cancer in its early stages increases your chances of a full recovery. Consult with your doctor about which tests are best for you at your current age.