Cancer is one of the most feared and devastating illnesses one can suffer from. Prevention of cancer can indeed be achieved by adopting certain lifestyle habits to give you the best chance of not receiving this most dreaded diagnosis. These healthy lifestyle habits will be outlined here with suggestions on how to implement them successfully.
Here are 10 lifestyle options that may help prevent certain types of cancer:
A screening is a medical test that checks your body for warning signs of a disease, even if you have no symptoms. Screenings can save lives by finding cancer early enough to prevent the disease from getting worse, and when many treatments may work better. Doctors recommend regular screening for cancers of the breast, cervix and colorectal area (colon and rectum). In some cases, these screenings can actually find abnormalities that can be addressed before cancer develops.
Avoiding tobacco smoke:
If you’re a smoker or you’re around someone who smokes, your chances of getting several types of cancer are higher. In addition to lung cancer, smoking is also associated
with cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix and stomach. Smokers and people who breathe in secondhand smoke make up as many as 30 percent of all cancer deaths in India.
The risk of getting some types of cancer can be inherited. This risk is passed along from one or both parents through genes, chromosomes or proteins. Genetic testing can reveal whether you carry certain abnormal genes that put you at risk of cancer. If a test shows you have a higher risk, you may be able to take steps to lower your risk or to find cancer earlier. Your doctor will determine whether you should be tested.
Some viruses and infections have been linked to cancer. Scientists have developed vaccines to guard against a few of these. The hepatitis B vaccine helps prevent hepatitis B infections, which can cut the risk of developing liver cancer. The vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) helps protect against certain strains of HPV that are responsible for most cervical and some anal, vulvar and vaginal cancers.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays in natural sunlight and sunlamps used in indoor tanning booths can both cause skin cancer. Take steps to protect your skin while in direct sunlight, even on hazy days. This includes wearing clothing to cover your skin and a broad-brimmed hat to shade your head, face and neck. Avoid being in the sun during the hottest part of the day. Choose wrap-around sunglasses designed to block 100 percent of UV rays if possible. Always use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater.
Other radiation exposure:
Radon gas in homes is a known cancer-causing agent. You can get a test kit at a local hardware store, or call your county health department for more information on how to test your home for the presence of radon. Also, exposure to medical X-rays and other diagnostic tests that use radiation are known to raise cancer risks.
Working around certain elements, such as asbestos, could raise your chances of getting cancer. Air pollution and exposure to arsenic in water have also been linked to cancer. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure about certain substances you’re exposed to.
Besides all the important health benefits of being active, research now shows that regular physical activity may help fight off some cancers. You should try to at least reach the federal guidelines of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two days a week of strength exercises.
A healthy diet:
Are you eating enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains each day? These plant-based foods are thought to have some protective qualities by providing fiber and nutrients. Some studies suggest a diet high in fat, processed meats and protein could raise the risk of colorectal cancer. Also, regularly drinking alcohol ups your risk factors for certain cancers. If you choose to drink, limit your consumption to one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.
Even though all of these lifestyle changes proposed above are extremely helpful for reducing the risk of cancer, they will also have immense benefits for improved health in general, in your everyday life.