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Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Cancer

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Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Cancer

Steps you can take to lower the risk of developing cancer

Lowering your chance of getting cancer can help you and your family stay healthy and avoid the physical difficulties and emotional worries associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Some factors such as genetics and aging are out of our control, but other factors may be more easily addressed.

7 Things You Can Do to Prevent Cancer

  1. Find and treat precancerous conditions early – Regular check-ups with your primary care provider are a great way to start. Your primary care provider can talk with you about irregular findings and may refer you to a specialist.
  2. Eliminate tobacco use or exposure - Tobacco is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. Users of tobacco products and individuals who are consistently exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of developing lung, mouth, throat, and other types of cancer. Quitting tobacco products can significantly improve your overall health.
  3. Avoid excessive sunlight exposure - Ultraviolet radiation, or UV, exposure can cause early aging of the skin and may lead to skin cancer. Try avoiding the afternoon sun when UV rays are at their highest and stay away from tanning beds. When you do go outside, wear a hat and sunglasses, choose clothing that covers as much skin as possible and always wear sunscreen.
  4. Limit alcohol- If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your intake to a moderate amount. This is considered one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The more you drink, the higher your risk is.
  5. Stay healthy and active - Obesity can increase your chances of developing several different types of cancer such as breast, colon, rectum, kidney, pancreas, and gallbladder. Having a routine of exercise, choosing a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight will lower your risk.
  6. Change up your diet - A healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nutrients is a key factor in staying healthy. Cruciferous vegetables, vitamin D, calcium, and antioxidants like tea all have supporting research in cancer prevention Eating whole foods and avoiding overly processed or chemically processed foods can also help.
  7. Take action against cancer-causing infections - Hepatitis viruses, HIV, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) are all infectious agents that can lead to cancer. Vaccines are available for HPV but are not recommended for anyone older than age 26. Cancer risk from these infections can also be reduced by not sharing needles, and avoiding situations that cause exposure, including having unprotected sex.

Living a healthy, active lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of cancer during your lifetime. Knowing the risks and making small changes to your lifestyle can help you and your loved ones live healthy, active lives.