Cancer is a very complex disease with a large number of possible causes. Although much of your cancer risk has to do with factors that are beyond your control, there are also a number of things that you can do to minimize your risk. Here are some of the ways that you can decrease your chances of developing cancer.
Research continually shows that your diet is one of the top factors in determining your cancer risk. A diet that is high in fiber will help prevent a number of cancers that are related to your digestive system. Vegetables, particularly leafy green vegetables, are very helpful in lowering your cancer risk. Look for foods that are high in antioxidants as many of these nutrients can minimize the effects of carcinogens that may be in your system. You should also minimize your consumption of smoked meats, processed foods, and artificial sweeteners.
Your amount of physical activity is also closely linked with your risk of developing cancer. Recent studies have shown that people who sit for several hours a day every day are at a much greater risk of developing cancer. This effect is especially high for women. While a very sedentary lifestyle is linked with an increased risk of developing cancer, a very active lifestyle is associated with a decreased cancer risk. You should aim to exercise at least three times a week for a half-hour or more. You should also try to incorporate more activity into your daily lifestyle.
Your weight is closely related to your diet and amount of physical activity. However, it deserves its own mention as some studies have linked being overweight itself with an increased cancer risk that is compounded with the risk factors of sedentary living and a poor diet. People who are overweight have an increased chance of developing colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and a number of other types of cancer.
Tobacco and Alcohol
Two of the most common vices in the world are also two of the biggest risk factors for developing cancer. Tobacco products contain some of the most carcinogenic substances that are available to consumers. The risk is there whether you smoke the tobacco or use smokeless tobacco. Tobacco products are linked to about a third of cancer cases in the US. Alcohol is not as big of a cancer risk as tobacco, but it does increase your chances of developing this disease. The regularity of your alcohol consumption is a major factor when it comes to how it affects your cancer risk. If you do consume alcohol products, avoid drinking them every single day. When you do drink, try to stick to a reasonable amount.
Although genetics account for the largest portion of your cancer risk, there is little that you can do about them. If you are sure to focus on the cancer risk factors that you can change, you will minimize your risk of ever having to deal with this deadly disease.
Here at South Texas Breast Surgery, we offer Genetic Counseling, another step you can take to decrease or learn of your risk of developing cancer. To learn more, click here!