Miskawaan Integrative Cancer Care

Cancer prevention lifestyle tips

Cancer Prevention: 8 Lifestyle Considerations That Can Help

In 2020 alone, more than 19 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed around the world and there were approximately 10 million deaths attributed to the disease. Despite advances in our understanding and increasingly effective treatments, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death across the globe.

According to that research, however, making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating better and limiting our alcohol intake can have a huge impact on the number of people who develop certain cancers.

Cancer Prevention: 8 Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Your Risk

There is a lot an individual can do to reduce their risk of cancer and making certain lifestyle choices from childhood through to old age can have a huge difference. These changes do not guarantee that someone won’t develop cancer in the future but they can certainly help to reduce the risk and allow the individual to lead a healthier life in general.

1. Avoid Tobacco

The relationship between tobacco and lung, throat, pancreatic and kidney cancer has been known for decades. According to the CDC, as many as 40% of cancers diagnosed in the USA may have a link to smoking.

  • 80% of lung cancer deaths are believed to be the direct result of smoking. You are 15 times more likely to develop this disease if you smoke regularly and for a long time.
  • Lung cancer is not the only type of cancer associated with tobacco. People are at an increased risk of developing many other cancer types, including bladder, bowel, and esophageal cancer.
  • Women who have smoked for more than 30 years have a risk increase of 21% for breast cancer.

Stopping smoking, even after years of persisting with the habit, is likely to reduce the risk of developing a life-threatening disease such as cancer.

Stopping smoking can help prevent cancer

2. Exercise

Undertaking regular exercise can contribute to reducing your risk for many cancers. Research has shown that people who exercised regularly or were physically active in their job, for example, reduced their risk of bladder cancer by 15%.

A recent review of research also found that physically active women had a 12 to 21% lower risk of developing breast cancer.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight

The relationship between diet and overall health is also more well understood nowadays. Switching food intake to fresh, healthy options rather than sugary and processed ones can have a huge impact on an individual’s sense of wellbeing as well as reducing the potential to develop cancer in the future.

Research has found that eating 50gms of processed meat a day presented a 20% increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. The antioxidants found in fresh foods has also been found to play a role in reducing cancer.

Limiting choices such as processed meat and switching to fruits and vegetables is a good idea for overall health and experts today believe that as many as 1 in 10 cancers can be prevented by eating a healthy diet. With new research being undertaken into the role of the gut biome, this may be even higher.

4. Limit Consumption of Alcohol

Limiting consumption of alcohol can reduce risk of cancer

While a small amount of alcohol can be sometimes beneficial, overindulgence can increase the risk of developing cancer. Alcohol associated cancers include head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, and liver and breast cancer.

The risk of developing cancer can also increase considerably if you both drink and smoke.

5. Avoid Risky Behaviors

Certain risky behaviors can increase the potential to develop particular types of cancer. Having too many sexual partners and not using condoms increases the risk of contracting HPV (human papillomavirus), which is associated with cervical cancer. HPV is also associated with cancer of the vagina, vulva, penis and anus.

Sharing needles is another risky behavior that can make it more likely you will develop cancer. Current research shows that people with HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis A are more vulnerable to developing liver cancer.

6. Be Safe in the Sun

Most people know the potentially harmful effects of the sun and how this can lead to skin cancer. This is one of the most preventable but common cancers in the world today and simple habit changes can make a big difference.

Individuals should avoid the hot midday sun and stay in the shade as much as possible, cover exposed areas by, for example, wearing a hat, and use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.

7. Get Regular Health Checkups

One of the key factors in successful treatment when it comes to cancer is early detection. Going for regular health checkups with a doctor means that a diagnosis can be made sooner rather than later.

It’s also advised to perform self-checks for unusual lumps and to pay attention to general changes in health and then getting checked out by a physician.

8. Get Vaccinated

Finally, some vaccinations can indirectly help prevent an individual from developing certain types of cancer. The hepatitis B and HPV vaccines, particularly if a person is very sexually active, are a good idea. Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer, and, as mentioned before, HPV can lead to the development of cervical cancer.


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