Cancer is a devastating disease and kills far too many men, women and children every year. Here are 10 things you need to do to reduce the risk of developing cancer in your lifetime as well as enjoy better health and better quality of life. A healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet will help you prevent cancer and be healthier.
1. Avoid tobacco products and steer clear of second hand smoke. Lung cancer is one of the most treatable cancers and yet so many people still get it and die from it. Lung cancer is only part of the story because there is a plethora of other cancers that you risk developing if you smoke: mouth, nose, voice box, throat, esophagus and stomach. The good news is that smoking rates have dropped overall, however 45 million people still smoke including many of our young people.
2. Maintain a healthy weight. Did you know that just carrying an extra 10 to 30 lbs. can increase risks of many cancers such as pancreas, colon, hormone and other sensitive cancers? If you carry your weight around your middle you are at an even higher risk of some cancers. In regard to food choices, serving size is the big thing – we have super-sized America and it shows. We are asked to pay just a little more and seduced into consuming many more calories in the larger portions.
When you look at label and nutrition facts on foods, pay attention to what you add on like dressings, dips, spreads, etc. Eat smaller portions and realize that low fat and low calorie doesn’t mean it is healthier for you. A few good tips are to eat food that is full of fiber, and try not to drink your calories. The soda consumption per person in this country is high and there is virtually no nutrition in soda – only calories that will add on fat. Plain ordinary water is best and should be the liquid you consume most each day – for your health and your weight.
3. Get active and exercise regularly. Everyone recommends it including the American Cancer Society because being active helps you reach and maintain a healthy weight and provides other healthy benefits such as lowering your risk of getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Walking, hiking, cycling, and gardening are all choices even if you are not an athletic person. You must do some kind of exercise on regular basis to get optimal results so you should pick something you like and will get you going and keep you going.
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains because this is one of the best ways to protect dna from damage that leads to disease. Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in dietery antioxidants and provide an array of phytonutrients that all have certain ways of helping protect dna and genes. Not all fruits and vegetables are the same so you need to eat a variety – you won’t get the same nutrients out of an apple that you will from broccoli. Cooked tomatoes help protect against prostate cancer, while broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts can protect against colon and bladder cancer
Fiber is very important and one of the reasons is elimination. The therorized reason is that when you eat enough fiber thespeed of transit time is increased so there is less time for cells to be damaged. Include fiber at every meal and limit your foods that are not fruits and vegetables. Juices do not have much of the phytonutrients nor the fiber that fresh fruit does. I am sure that you have heard to stay away from white flour, sugar, and rice – look for whole grains and limit intake of refined carbohydrates.
5. Stay away from processed foods. Salted, cured, or pickled – the less a food has been processed the better it is for you. Until 20 years ago stomach cancer was most common, due to preservatives..
6. Limit alcohol intake. Increased amounts of oral and digestive area cancers – throat, neck, larynix, voice box, liver, breast, colon, and rectal – are linked to alcohol consumption (not even excessive amounts). Inadequate folate could make your risk more significant. Men and women require different amounts. Smaller body size is a factor and women metabolize different than men.
7. Limit ultraviolet radiation. You should be safe and smart in the sun because ultraviolet radiation from sun is clearly damaging to skin and increasingly common to young people. The rays are strongly reflected from sand, water, snow, ice and concrete, enhancing exposure by up to 50%. Even on a cloudy day the UV penetrates through. You should wear suncreen and cover up. Know your body, know your skin, and be aware of the location, shape and size of any moles. Report differences to your doctor.
8. Reduce exposure to toxins. Household and work place exposure to carcinegens and other toxins is on the rise. There are many substances in the environment that put you at a higher risk of developing cancer. This includes your environment indoors and outdoors because the air inside your home can be more toxic than outside. On the job you should minimize exposure to dust, solvents and fumes. At home reduce exposure to chemicals, toxins and fumes by not purchasing products that contain them. It is worth noting that indoor air can be anywhere from 2 to 5 times higher with environmental pollutants than outdoor air.
Filter your drinking water to remove pollutants. Read labels on personal care products, stain protection for furniture, clothing or shoes, air fresheners, cleaning products and disinfectants. Use fresh air to freshen homes instead of products with more chemicals that you don’t need to breathe.
Use low or no voc paints. Limit your use of cans or plastic containers for foods, and instead choose glass or ceramic for microwaving foods. Dust and vacuum regularly to rid your home of toxins that can live in dust particles. Use safe, ‘green’ cleaning products to keep the air in your home healthier to breathe and to limit your exposure to the toxic products in many regular cleaners.
9. Know your family history. Be aware of the screening tests that should be done if there has been cancer in the family. Even with supplement use, it makes good and prudent sense to recognize family history as a risk factor. Even though it is believed that only 5 to 10 percent are related, the predisposition may be there. Realize that other factors determine more if you will get cancer.
There are 10 million cancer survivors now in America and yet we are still a long time away from making a headway with cancer. With breast cancer self exams, 40% are found by the woman herself, so do this test in the shower and have a breast exam with your doctor once per year. Have a mammogram at least by age 40 (35 if there is a higher family risk profile), and every 2 to 3 years until age 50 when they should be done annually.
A screening colonoscopy should be done at age 50 (earlier if history) and become routine every 5 years depending on what is found. Cervical screening and pap smears are recommended annually. The most common cancer in men is prostate. The psa blood test should be scheduled at age 50 (unless history) along with an exam by your doctor.
10. Take supplements. Food supplements – vitamins and other nutrients – have been proven to prevent disease, improve your immune system and build better health. Science and research over many, many years have delivered to us the benefits of adding natural nutrition to our daily life. The same (potent) nutrients that were in our foods in the past are no longer there. That fact together with the very busy lifestyles that have us eating on the run, choosing fast food and quick meals that don’t have enough fresh ingredients have drastically lowered the amount of quality nutirion that we get on a daily basis.
Vitamins and other food supplements must be taken daily in order to get the better health results that we desire. It works best if you create a routine of taking certain nutrients at certain times of the day or with specific meals. Whatever works best for you is good – the key is to take them every day.