Ten Simple Ways to Prevent Cancer
Do Not Smoke Cigarettes
According to the National Cancer Institute, 87 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. Tobacco smoke is also the cause of most cancers of the bladder, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, and oral cavity. Containing about 4,000 chemical agents, 60 substances in cigarette smoke are known to cause cancer.
Be Aware of the Substances You Are Exposed To
Many of us do not realize that we are exposed to harmful chemicals on a daily basis. Construction workers inhale paint fumes, dust, and other harsh substances on the job. Oil workers breathe in gas fumes and other dangerous chemicals while they work. Even the average person is exposed to toxic substances in everyday life; they are in cleaning and personal hygiene products, car exhaust, and secondhand smoke.
Today we know that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. However, we are exposed to many other dangerous substances in our everyday lives. Being aware of the chemicals you are exposed to at work and at home, paired with proper safety precautions and use of environmentally-safe products, could go a long way in preventing cancer in the future.
Limit Alcohol Use
While studies show that drinking alcohol in moderation may be beneficial to your health, excessive alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk of cancer of the liver, breast, mouth, esophagus, larynx, and pharynx.
Eat Foods Rich in Anti-oxidants
Studies indicate that anti-oxidants may slow or prevent the development of cancer by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Foods rich in anti-oxidants include:
- Fruits: Blueberries, kiwis, cranberries, pomegranates, grapes
- Vegetables: Kale, artichokes, spinach
- Nuts: Walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds
- Spices: Cloves, cinnamon, oregano
Studies show that regular exercise can lower a person’s risk of developing of cancer. While researchers don’t know why individuals who regularly exercise have lower rates of cancer, they believe it may be because exercise helps to control body fat, stimulate the immune system, and alter the balance of certain hormones.
Talk to Your Doctor about Your Family's Medical History
It is important to be aware of your family’s medical conditions and to relay this information to your physician. If your family has a history of certain cancers, your doctor may choose to screen you for the disease at a younger age or more often.
Visit the Doctor for Cancer Screenings
Talk to your doctor to find out how often you should schedule appointments and at what ages you will need to begin getting tested for certain cancers. For example, women age 40 and over should schedule a mammogram to screen for breast cancer every one to two years; doctors recommend that men undergo screening for prostate cancer by the age of 50.
Be Careful about the Meats You Eat
Some studies have shown that frequent consumption of certain meats, specifically red and processed meats, increases the risk of certain cancers. Other studies have linked grilled and broiled meat to cancer because these methods of cooking meat produce HCAs (heterocyclic amines), cancer-causing compounds.
Take a Daily Multi-Vitamin
Most men, women, and children do not get the daily recommended dose of vitamins and minerals. Taking a multi-vitamin geared for daily use makes it easy for you and your loved ones to stay healthy.
Buying organic meats, eggs, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables means that your food does not contain any harmful pesticides or hormones. While organic products can be more expensive, they are better for your health and the environment.
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