In the U.S., nearly 1,500 people die each day from cancer and every day 3,400 people get word of a new cancer diagnosis.
These statistics are staggering and scary.
Thankfully, cancer research is constantly evolving and new information is always emerging.
While tips may vary from one study to the next, there are a few certainties we know about cancer prevention.
These are some of those tips.
Stop Using Tobacco
This one seems like a no brainer, unless you’re the one with the tobacco problem.
“Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% in women.”
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US for both men and women, accounting for 1 in 5 deaths, even though lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death in the world.
According to the Surgeon General’s 2014 Report:
“Women smokers are 25.7 times more likely than women who never smoked to develop lung cancer. For men smokers, it’s 25 times the risk of men who never smoked.”
Smoking specifically has been connected to cancer of the:
Chewing tobacco fares no better since it’s connected to cancer in the oral cavity and the pancreas.
Cigar smokers beware: cigars have many of the same carcinogens as cigarettes. Plus, large cigars may contain more than half an ounce of tobacco, which is as much as a whole pack of cigarettes.
You could be putting yourself at risk even if you don’t smoke, as secondhand smoke has been shown to increase your risk of developing lung cancer.
Limit Your Alcohol
The International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC) classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen way back in 1988. That means alcohol is in the highest risk category of cancer-causing substances.
A meta-analysis of over 200 studies concluded that alcohol “most strongly increased” the risks for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx (upper throat), esophagus, and larynx (voice box).
Alcohol had “statistically significant increases” in risk for cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, liver, female breast, and ovaries.
Luckily, moderate alcohol intake is considered fine, but when you start getting into 3, 4 or 5 drinks a day, your risk of cancer goes up considerably.
Chow Down on Cruciferous Veggies
When men and women between the ages of 50–74 consumed an average of 3.7 cooked half-cup servings of broccoli a week, they were 50% less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who never ate broccoli.
And the good news doesn’t stop there.
During studies, women who regularly ate one serving per day of cruciferous vegetables reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50%. While eating cruciferous veggies just once a week was associated with a 17% decrease in breast cancer risk.
Reach and Maintain Your Ideal Weight
According to the National Cancer Institute, as many as 84,000 cancer diagnoses each year are linked to obesity.
Being overweight has been linked to 33% of breast, colon, kidney, and digestive tract cancers.
Studies show that when people of a normal weight are diagnosed with cancer, they typically have better chances of survival than those who are overweight.
So being obese not only puts you at risk for developing cancer, but it also hurts your chances of surviving it.
Keep an eye on your waistline, it’s a pretty good indicator of determining your cancer risks.
Don’t forget about exercise, that has the added benefit of also being great for your health now and in the future.
Get Off the Couch
Scientists believe exercise may protect women from gaining too much belly fat, which may trigger tumor growth in breast tissue. They also believe exercise keeps digestion regular, thus preventing cancer-causing waste from growing in the colon.
“We should maintain cigarette smoking as public health enemy number one, but we should move physical inactivity right up next to it”, John P. Thyfault, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine says.
Aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day will not only make your cancer risks decline, but lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease too.
Get this: approximately 25–35% of cancer could be attributed to dietary choices.
Well, because focusing on an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, beans, nuts, fish, healthy fats, and whole grains— while limiting low-nutrient, high-calorie foods and sugar— is one of the best ways to keep you healthy for the rest of your life.
Monitor Your Fun in the Sun
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of skin cancer, and it’s the most preventable.
While getting your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin, aka vitamin D, is essential, you don’t need to stay out longer than 6–60 minutes.
General rules to keep in mind when you’re planning a day in the sun:
- Always wear sunscreen. You may even want to consider switching your daily moisturizer to one that contains sunscreen so you’re always covered.
- Avoid the sun’s strongest rays when they happen between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stick to shady areas during this time.
- Opt for broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and bright or dark colors.
And avoid tanning beds.
Stop Skipping Your Checkups
Don’t put off your doctors’ visits. Getting regularly screened for certain cancers during your appointments increases your odds of discovering cancer early, when it’s most successfully treated.
Your doctors can check for skin, colon, cervix, and breast cancer in one short visit.
Quality Sleep Matters
More than 70% of Americans are not meeting the average recommended 8 hours of sleep they need and 30% of adults suffer from some form of insomnia.
So turn off your electronics, use a dim red night-light, and get some shuteye! If you need tips on how to fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer, we’ve got you covered.