Your risk of cancer depends on different factors, making some people more likely to develop the disease compared to others. Some people are genetically predisposed whereas age, weight, environment, or exposure to carcinogens also increase the risk of developing certain cancers.
Because the exact cause of cancer remains unknown and there is no one cure for all cancer, it helps to be proactive about your health. Studies have shown that making healthy changes to your lifestyle can reduce your risk for cancer, especially for those who are considered high risk. Here are 10 tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of cancer.
1. Watch your weight
Being overweight or obese has long been linked with an increased risk for cancer due to the changes they cause to the body, such as inflammation. Some of these changes also include higher than normal levels of insulin and hormones.
2. Practice sun protection
Overexposure or prolonged exposure to radiation from the sun increases your risk for skin cancer. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen when you expect to be exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. Wear protective clothing and accessories such as sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. Use a UV-blocking umbrella if you need to walk directly under the sun.
3. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet
Fruits and vegetables contain cancer-fighting nutrients. They are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
4. Exercise regularly
Engaging in regular exercise is not only key to preventing being overweight and obese but it also improves cardiovascular health and maintains healthy blood pressure levels.
5. Don’t smoke
Don’t start smoking. If you do, stop. Lung cancer is not the only cancer linked to smoking. Smoking has also been connected with other cancers, including cancers of the throat, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, kidneys, mouth, and cervix.
6. Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption has been linked to cancer due to the way the body breaks down alcohol and produces a chemical that could potentially damage your DNA and your body’s ability to repair itself from the damage.
7. Get quality sleep
Lack of sleep weakens the body, making it harder for your body to fight health issues that can lead to cancer. Good quality sleep is crucial to cellular health because the body works to repair damaged cells and DNA while you sleep.
8. Get vaccinated
Certain viral infections such as Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus (HPV) increase your risk for cancer. Fortunately, there are vaccinations against Hepatitis B and HPV, protecting you from infections that can lead to liver cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, and genital cancers.
9. Perform self-exams
You know your body better than anybody, making you the first to notice when there are unusual changes that may indicate cancer. Check your breasts for abnormal lumps, bumps, or dimpling. Monitor any moles you may have for changes in size, shape, and color.
10. Understand your screening needs
When you understand your screening needs, you understand your cancer risk levels. Talking to your doctor about your family medical history, lifestyle, and risk factors can help determine if you’re a good candidate for cancer screening, which is meant to help find cancer at an early stage before symptoms appear and when it is most curable.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about cancer-fighting support.