Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year. This makes cancer the second-leading cause of death in America after heart disease.
Cancer is not something that only happens to older adults. It can affect anyone at any age and stage in life. However, there are ways that you can reduce your risk of getting cancer and better manage the disease if it’s diagnosed.
Here are some of the ways you can reduce your risk of cancer.
Tobacco and alcohol use account for 30% of all cancers worldwide. Smoking is the most preventable cause of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Smoking increases your risk of developing many types of cancer, including those in your mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, and bladder.
Tobacco smoke also increases the risk of cancer in other areas, such as your cervix and colorectum (the last part of the large intestine). Since nicotine stimulates cell proliferation in these organs, it can increase your risk of developing some forms of cancer even after you quit smoking.
Drink Clean and Purified Water
Drinking clean and purified water is an important way to reduce your risk of cancer. Tap water generally contains chlorine and fluoride, which can be harmful to the body if ingested in large amounts. Bottled water may be a better option than tap, but only if you choose one that has been filtered or distilled. Filters are often used in homes, while distillation involves boiling the water until all chemicals have evaporated out of it, leaving only pure H2O behind.
A few decades ago, the Camp Lejeune incident opened the general public’s eyes to the realization that the use of contaminated water can lead to cancer. Studying the Camp Lejeune Water Lawsuit will show you how the negligence of a few businesses and organizations led to this incident. Many of the Camp Lejeune victims fell prey to cancer, with some of them even dying. These victims are currently seeking compensation and justice from these organizations through the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit.
Limit Alcohol Intake
According to the World Health Organization, in 2020, around 4% of global cancer cases were caused because of alcohol consumption.
Drinking alcohol is a risk factor for many types of cancer, including breast, liver, mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, and rectum, as well as the pancreas. Drinking can also increase your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.
While there’s no recommended limit on the amount of alcohol you can drink without increasing your cancer risk, you should talk with your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for you to drink.
The American Cancer Society recommends that an average adult get moderate-intensity exercise for around 150 minutes or high-intensity aerobic activity for around 75 minutes every week. Examples of moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, cycling, and water aerobics. Vigorous activities include jogging and swimming laps.
If you simply can’t stand the thought of jogging but still want to be more active, consider adding in a few more steps throughout your day. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Park far away from where you’re going and walk. Take an extra lap around the parking lot when you drive for errands or try a new exercise class at your gym.
A recent study found that people who worked out just five days per week reduced their risk of developing cancer by 13 percent compared with those who didn’t exercise regularly at all.
Get Proper Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important to your overall health. It’s necessary for good physical health, mental health, social health, and memory. Without proper rest, you can experience chronic fatigue, impaired concentration, an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, and even depression.
Sleep deprivation can also cause a weakened immune system which leaves you susceptible to infections. Research has shown that lack of sleep increases the risk of developing cancer by as much as 15%. Properly rested individuals have fewer problems with their immune system and are less likely to develop cancer than those who do not get enough shut-eye every night.
Eat a Balanced Diet
The best way to reduce your risk of cancer is to eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats or fish. You should limit red meat and avoid processed meats such as ham and bacon because they contain preservatives that may increase the risk of cancer. Also, avoid foods high in salt (sodium), sugar, and fat to lower your risk of developing cancer.
The good news is that many of these lifestyle changes are simple and easy to implement. They may even seem obvious, but we don’t always put them into practice because they require effort and determination. Still, the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks. As you can see, there are multiple ways to reduce your risk of cancer by making small changes in your daily habits—and they all have the potential to save lives.