21 Jan Cancer prevention: tips for living a healthy life
While most cancer is unpredictable, some healthy habits help reduce cancer risk. Developing these healthy habits early on can help lower your risk for cancer, as well as improve your well-being if you do develop the disease.
Regardless of prevention steps, these healthy behaviors can boost your health and lead to living a longer, healthier life. At Alabama Cancer Care, we’ve developed the following recommendations for your optimal life.
7 steps to help lower your cancer risk
1. Healthy diet
Studies from the American Institute for Cancer Research show a link between a healthy diet and a reduction of your cancer risk. Doctors recommend having a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins. While processed foods, red meat, high-calorie foods, and sugary drinks are discouraged. Studies are continually evolving on the correlation between food and cancer, so speak with your doctor before making drastic changes to your diet.
2. Frequent exercise
Two out of three Americans are overweight or obese. This excess fat in the body increases the risk of several types of cancer, as well as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Physical activity is an excellent tactic in achieving and maintaining healthy body weight. Most adults are recommended to 2-3 hours of exercise a week.
3. No tobacco use
Each year, smoking causes nearly one out of five deaths in the US. There’s an overwhelming amount of research that shows the risks of tobacco use. If you need help to quit smoking, the American Cancer Society offers many resources.
4. Limit alcohol
If you decide to drink alcohol, it is best to drink in moderation. Abide by the recommended Dietary Guidelines for Americans – no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two drinks a day for men.
5. Protect yourself from the sun
Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is the leading cause of most skin cancers. Understanding the UV Index is a good start to being aware of when you are most at risk for receiving harmful UV rays. Getting in the shade, covering up with clothing, avoiding tanning beds, and using sunscreen are all appropriate action steps to protect yourself from the sun.
6. Get vaccinated
Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Children and adults should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. All males and females ages 9 to 26 should talk to their doctor about receiving the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is most effective when given at ages 11 to 12. However, unvaccinated men and women ages 27 to 45 should talk to their doctor about the benefits of the vaccine.
7. Receive regular medical care and cancer screenings
Initiating routine preventive care from your family doctor, such as through yearly check-ups, is a significant step to maintaining and understanding your body and health. In addition, cancer screenings increase the chances of detecting certain cancers in the early stages, when cancer might be easier to treat.
For a more detailed outline of cancer screening guidelines based on cancer type, age, and other factors, review the American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer.
Alabama Cancer Care, your local support system
While your pursuit of these habits is not a guarantee of a cancer-free life, it is a helpful start to living a healthy life. For any more specific questions about lowering your cancer risk, talk with your trusted physician.
Alabama Cancer Care is an oncology and hematology practice offering understanding and skilled treatment for a wide range of illnesses. Alabama Cancer Care believes patient care starts with TRUST and HOPE. For more information, give us a call at the Alabama Cancer Care Center office nearest you.