Cancer is a lot more common in the U.S. than we might think. It’s well on its way to becoming the leading cause of death by natural causes in the country. Research shows that one in three Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime.
We’re often under the impression that there’s nothing we can do to prevent cancer. In fact, it’s a widely spread misconception that genetics is the only thing that plays a role in the likelihood of getting ill. But there are a lot of our lifestyle choices that influence that, too. Genetics is just one drop in the big bucket of reasons why someone might get cancer.
If you are in a high-risk group – like someone who has a family history of the illness – these tips on how to prevent cancer might be even more important for you. Take a look at some things you can start doing in your everyday life to reduce your risk of cancer.
Here Are 10 Proven Habits That Help Prevent Cancer
1. Improve your diet
A majority of cancers are caused by a bad diet and unhealthy eating habits. Start by cutting our red meat, one of the main culprits in causing malignant growths. Instead, try some of the vegetables that have been proven to detox your body, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. Another great thing to add to your meals is garlic; it contains a lot of great ingredients that increases your body’s anti-cancer defenses. So, if you were considering munching on some garlic bread tonight, or worried you’re adding too much garlic to your pasta, don’t – it’s good for you!
2. Start drinking green tea
It might not be your favorite kind of tea, but there are a lot of health benefits to green tea that most of us never even suspected. Green tea is a natural antioxidant, and it reduces the risk of lung, breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. This is only new to Western knowledge – the healing power of green tea has long been used in a lot of Asian countries, where rates of cancer are significantly lower. The hot drink also contains EGCG, which is considered a very powerful weapon to help prevent cancer.
3. Stop tanning
We don’t mean avoid the sun altogether, as a bit of Vitamin D can never be bad for you. However, excessive tanning or (even worse) going to the tanning beds on a regular basis can increase your risk of skin cancer. Some might think that spray tans are a lesser evil. On the contrary, they contain some very harmful chemicals that can also lead to various conditions if ingested through the nose or mouth by accident. Make sure you always wear appropriate protection against the sun and use the right sunscreen for you.
4. Use protection when having sex
Condoms don’t only protect you from pregnancy and STDs, but they can also help prevent cancer (some types of it). One of the most common cancers in women these days is cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV. An HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006, however vaccination rates among girls are still quite low. If you practice safe sex, especially if you change your partners frequently, make sure you’re always protected.
5. Exercise regularly
No matter how much you work, or how much you’re telling yourself you have no time, always try to make some time for your exercise. Whether it’s jogging, hitting the gym, biking or even walking the dog a bit longer, every little bit helps. Scientific research has discovered that regular exercise can decrease the risk of cancer by over 30%.
6. Choose fish
We already talked about the importance of a good diet, however you might be wondering how to replace the red meat you crave so much. The answer is simple: fish. A good fresh salmon fillet, or another kind of fish, cooked from scratch and not from a tin, will do wonders for your health. Fish is rich in nutrients, and it’s a great replacement for red meat in your diet.
7. Positive thinking
Scientists have confirmed the link between stress and cancer. Stress makes your whole body’s defenses drop and it makes you a lot more susceptible to all sorts of illnesses, including cancer. The best way to battle it is to practice mindfulness and take control of situations that normally stress you out. If you’re worried about a deadline, focus on how you’re going to get the best of it rather than on your thoughts about how you’ll fail it. Give yourself positive reinforcement and slowly eliminate stress from your life.
8. Drink beer and wine in moderation
It might sound counterintuitive, but moderate amounts of wine and beer can protect you from a bacterium called H. pylori, which is one of the leading causes of stomach cancer. However, you shouldn’t overdo it either. Consuming too much alcohol can just as easily increase your risk of cancer. It’s always best to speak to your doctor for any advice if you feel like you’re high-risk.
9. Reduce your sugar intake
We’ve heard a lot about why sugary drinks are bad as they are one of the leading causes of diabetes and obesity in the US. However, they can also be a cause for endometrial cancer. The bad thing about sugary drinks is that they’re highly addictive and it’s hard to ignore them, because even “zero” sugar products still have an artificial sweetener in them. Read the ingredients of all products you buy to make sure you aren’t consuming too much sugar.
10. Get tested
The best preventative measures against all cancers are to know your body well and to get tested often. If you know there’s a danger because of your family history, don’t skip your mammogram or your cervical smear. You never know when a test will come back positive and 20 minutes of inconvenience may mean that your life will be saved. The earlier cancer symptoms are caught, the more treatable they are – so don’t miss your tests.
“You do what you can to prevent cancer, and [if] you get it, you do what you can to fight it.” – Paul Molitor
No one likes thinking or talking about cancer, however knowing ways to prevent it is more important than ever in today’s hazardous world. Don’t ignore those tips and make sure you’re doing everything you can so that you and your family can stay safe.