3 Ways to Prevent Cancer
Cancer is the number two cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease. Thankfully, there are several healthy habits that will help you prevent it.
Here are three you can incorporate into your daily life.
1. Stop smoking and limit alcohol.
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are both high-risk activities.
All forms of tobacco – including cigarettes, chewing and vaping – have been linked to cancer. Studies show that quitting smoking lowers a person’s risk of many different types of cancer, such as colon, cervical, liver, pancreatic and stomach. For people who quit smoking, the risk of developing cancer decreases over time. For example, within ten years of quitting, a former smoker’s risk of mouth and throat cancer is reduced by half. Their risk of lung cancer is half that of someone still smoking.
Studies about the harmful effects of alcohol continue to emerge. A recent study shows even a small amount of alcohol may be harmful. The American Cancer Society recommends to drink alcohol at all. In general, a good rule to follow is to drink as little as possible.
2. Exercise, eat well and maintain a healthy weight.
For non-smokers, the biggest changes you can make towards decreasing your cancer risk factors are exercising, eating well and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Experts estimate that at least 18% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States are related to obesity, lack of exercise, too much alcohol and poor nutrition. Adults are advised to get at least five hours of moderate to vigorous activity each week. Children need at least an hour every day. Eat foods high in nutrients, plus a wide range of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Reduce highly processed and high sugar foods.
These good health practices go a long way towards preventing cancer. They also help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
3. Get screened.
Early detection is critical when it comes to cancer. Regular screening can detect cancer in its early stages, when it can still be effectively treated and even cured. Cancer screening guidelines are based on family history, age and other factors, which your primary care provider will know. Talk to your doctor for recommendations unique to your health and age. It’s also vital to let them know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with cancer.
In between regular wellness exams, don’t ignore symptoms that persist for more than a week or two, such as:
- A lump
- Coughing with blood
- Unexplained weight loss
Cancer care in Duluth
At St. Luke’s Regional Cancer Center, we have hand-selected cancer experts from some of the most prestigious oncology programs in the nation. We use the latest technology and treatments to treat cancer – no referral required.
If you have any questions, call St. Luke’s Regional Cancer Center at 218.249.3081.