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Cancer... either you have had it, will develop it at some time, or know someone who has had it or has it. Whether we like it or not, cancer affects each one of us directly or indirectly. Preventing cancer is easier than you may think. Through simple lifestyle changes, we can reduce our risk of developing many types of cancer.
1) Avoid smoking, whether it be actual smoking or secondhand smoke. We hear a dozen times a day how bad cigarettes are for us and the risk of lung cancer. Why? Because smoking is the most significant risk factors for cancers that we can reduce. Did you know that smoking can increase your risk of many other cancers? Need help quitting? Check out About's Smoking Cessation Sitefor great tips and support.
2) Practice sun safety and recognize when skin changes occur. Skin cancer is becoming more common, especially among young people. Wear sunscreen when outdoors, even if it is shady, and try to avoid the outdoors during the sun's peak time, which is 10 am - 2 pm. Knowing your skin's moles and spots is essential. Any changes need to be reported to your doctor ASAP.
3) Eat your fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help repair our damaged cells. Green veggies and orange and yellow fruits and veggies are your best bet. Learn more about antioxidants in this great article, "Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention"
4) Watch the meats you eat,especially smoked or cured foods. Research suggests that a diet high in animal fat can lead to the development of certain cancers. A diet high in smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables increases your risk factor for cancer.
5) Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol regularly increases your risk factor for cancer. Studies suggest that men who consume 2 alcoholic drink per day and women who have 1 alcoholic drink per day significantly increase their risk factors for certain types of cancer.
6) Exercise for cancer prevention. Being overweight greatly increases your risk factor for developing cancer. So, exercising to maintain or reach your ideal weight is one of the best defenses against cancer. Exercising doesn't have to be a bore, check out Top 10 Best Ways to Prevent Cancer Through Exercise for some fun ways to exercise.
7) Know your personal and family history of cancer. Research tells us that some types of cancers can be genetic. Knowing your family history of cancer can help you make more informed decisions about your healthcare. It can also aid in genetic testing and counseling, to assist you in finding out if you carry amutated gene that increases your risk factor forcancer. Check out "Genetic Cancers" for more information about genetic cancer, testing and counseling.
8) Know what chemicals you are being exposed to in your work environment.If you are exposed to fumes, dust, chemicals, etc in the workplace, you have a right to know what you are being exposed to. Gasoline, diesel exhaust, arsenic, beryllium. vinylchloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, and chloromethyl ethers are all carcinogens and can be found in some work environments. Talk to your employer about limiting exposure.
9) Practice safe sex. Unsafe sex can result in the infection of the HPV virus, a known cause for cervical cancer and a risk factor for many other cancers. HPV is a virus transmitted through sexual intercourse. Learn more about HPV in "HPV: What is HPV and How Do You Get It?"
10) Be sure to keep up on screening tests like the Pap, mammograms, and DREs. Make sure you have regular screening tests like the Pap smear and mammogramif you are a woman, and a DRE (digital rectal exam) if you are a man. The Pap and DRE can detect cellular changes before they become cancerous, and the mammogram may be able to detect breast cancer early. A rectal exam should be part of a woman's yearly gyn exam.