As we age, we become increasingly susceptible to all forms of cancer. Cancer cells grow in response to abnormalities in the body, which become much more common in our later years due to a reduction of healthy habits.
Follow these 6 tips to minimize your risk of cancer and live a healthier lifestyle:
1. Eat Healthy
Studies have shown that people who eat at least 5 portions of fruit a day can reduce their risk of cancer by 10%! But red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb have all been found to increase cancer risk by 28% for every 120g of red meat eaten per day. If you can’t go without meat in a meal, try replacing your steak with chicken breast, which has not been found to increase cancer risk.
2. Keep Weight Down and Activity Levels Up
Adult obesity has been linked to several types of cancer, such as: esophagus, colon, breast, pancreas, and kidney cancer. A study conducted in 2007 reported that 34,000 new cases of cancer in men and 50,500 cases in women were due to obesity. One of the many risks in adults suffering from obesity is that the body produces exorbitant levels of estrogen and insulin, which accelerate the growth of breast cancer and tumors. To help reduce this cancer risk, it is important to stay active and healthy as you grow older. Exercise can keep your weight down, help maintain your blood pressure, promote mental cognitive skills, and keep your body young.
3. Stop Tobacco Use
Lung cancer from tobacco use is simultaneously the most deadly and most preventable form of cancer in the United States. In 2014, there were 224,210 newly documented cases and 159, 260 reported deaths as a result of tobacco-induced lung cancer. Smokeless tobacco or chew tobacco are just as harmful with risks of developing mouth, throat, esophagus, and pancreas cancer. By quitting today, you can reduce your risk of cancer and start to live healthier. Within a year, your risk of heart disease, strokes, or heart attacks have decreased to 50% of a smoker. 10 years after quitting, your body will have become 30-50% less likely of developing lung cancer. Within the next 10 years after that, your risk of developing pancreatic or lung cancer has dropped to almost that of someone who has never smoked.
4. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is a dangerous and addictive substance that has been linked to mouth, throat, laryngeal, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast cancer. Drinking alcohol excessively causes damage to mouth and liver tissue, giving the cells in repair the possibility of becoming cancerous. Alcohol has been known to raise estrogen levels in women, which has been linked to breast cancer. The alcohol chemical inside the body either turns into acetaldehyde, which has been known to cause cancer, or works as a solvent and makes other deadly chemicals reach the digestive tract easier. If you choose to drink, the American Cancer society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
5. Protect Yourself from the Sun
Skin cancer has been linked to direct sun exposure, but also to artificial sources of UV rays such as tanning beds, phototherapy, and black-light lamps. UV rays are strongest between 9AM-5PM, during the summer months, in higher elevations, and closer to the equator. Spending time in direct sunlight or artificial UV rays will leave you susceptible to basal and squamous cell skin cancer or melanoma. If you do spend time in the sun, be sure to cover any exposed skin, wear sunscreen, and put on sunglasses.
6. Stay On Top of Your Health
Even with taking all of the right steps, cancer is not always preventable. The best defense is early detection when the cancerous cells have not had a chance to spread extensively. To do this, it is important to do frequent self-exams, see your primary care physician regularly, and take advantage of preventative benefits provided by your health insurance.
Have you been following these tips for cancer prevention? Do you have any others to add? Please leave your feedback in the comments below!