In many cases we are not able to say exactly why someone gets cancer. I often find myself wondering…why this person or why that person? Unfortunately, right now, no one can provide a list of things you can do that will guarantee you can avoid getting cancer. However, we do have a list of certain habits both good (to be taken up) and bad (to be avoided) that can help.
We all know there are risk factors that you cannot change–your genetics and family history are part of the hand you’re dealt in this game of life. There are, though, dangers we can avoid…they include smoking tobacco, being physically idle and overweight, eating [poorly] too many unhealthy fats and sugars, and exposing your body to excessive doses of ultraviolet light.
Some suggestions, then, to help decrease your risk of cancer:
-Avoid smoking, and if you currently smoke, quit. The sooner you quit, the better you will feel.
-If you are overweight, lose weight. Cutting out the bad stuff isn’t an easy task for any of us, but remember, this isn’t a race: slow and steady makes you a winner.
-Get some sort of physical activity–at least 30 minutes a day.
-Try to eat healthy as much as possible. Of course we all like to indulge now and then, but try to balance your meals with healthy portions of protein and veggies.
-Restrict your time in the sun and use sunscreen.
-Keep up with routine cancer screenings and physical exams. These include screenings for breast, colon, rectal, uterine and cervical cancer.
The bonus is that in addition to helping you decrease your risk of cancer, making lifestyle changes can also reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you have a family history of a certain disease, screening for a condition earlier may be appropriate. Remember to talk to your practitioner about all lifestyle modifications you embark on. Ask questions! Most importantly, don’t be afraid…early detection means early cure.