9 Ways to Decrease Your Cancer Risk

Everyone fears the word “cancer”. We all know someone who is battling some form of cancer right now. What are things you can do to set yourself up for success and decrease your risk of cancer? MD Anderson, the cancer experts, want to help us prevent cancer in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

We all know we should maintain a healthy weight. It reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. And a recent study shows that nearly 42% of adult Americans have obesity. This is quite concerning. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for certain cancers including: breast cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer,  gallbladder cancer, thyroid cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, and esophageal cancer. 

Eat a Plant Based Diet

This recommendation is not suggesting that you become a vegetarian, but rather ensure that ⅔ of your diet is plant based. When you make a plate, ensure that it is colorful and that no more than ⅓ of your food is lean based animal proteins. Limit your processed carbohydrates and added sugars. You want to eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables that are packed full of nutrients. 

Stay Active

Being active helps your body to stay strong and for your internal organs to work properly. You want to try to achieve 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week or at least 150 minutes of moderate activity. Exercise provides you so many benefits: weight management, improvement in brain health, strengthen bones and muscles, and reduce risk of disease. Get out and get moving to feel better and have a better quality of life. 

Don’t Smoke

This means any form of smoking: tobacco, vaping, or any other substance. Nine out of ten lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes or second hand smoke.

Avoid Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is linked to several types of cancer. Studies show that the more alcohol a person drinks over a regular period, the higher the risk of developing alcohol related cancer. These cancers include: head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. The science behind this is quite interesting. There are hypothesis that states the cancer risk could be increased due to the following when alcohol is consumed:

  • metabolizing the ethanol in these drinks to acetaldehyde which is a probable human carcinogen that damages the DNA and proteins,
  • generating reactive oxygen species that damage DNA, proteins, and lipids,
  • impairing the body’s ability to break down and absorb key nutrients, and
  • increasing blood levels of estrogen.

Get Vaccinated

Key vaccinations including HPV and hepatitis B are important. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the vaccination schedule and what is appropriate for your overall health plan.

Get Screened

Be sure to talk to your doctor about age and lifestyle appropriate cancer screenings. There are recommendations for each phase of life starting at age 21. This will include colon cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and more. 

Protect from UV-rays

Everyone should protect themselves from UV-rays. This means avoiding the use of tanning beds completely and protecting yourself from the sun. A quick guide for sun protection includes:

  • Stay in the shade especially in the heat of the day
  • Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. Clothes with UV protection are even better.
  • Wear a hat that covers your face, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. Consider those sunglasses that wrap around to provider fuller protection.
  • Wear SPF 15 or higher sunscreen every day. You can even get sun damage through a window. 

Know Your Family History

Some cancers have an increased risk with family history. Discuss this with your doctor and be sure to do appropriate screenings when your risks are higher. Stay in front of this.

It is always important to have a medical team who supports you. If you are working toward better health, our team at Healthstar Physicians Premier Medical wants to be on your team. We provide osteopathic medicine as well as family medicine, obesity medicine and podiatry. We are taking new patients at our two offices in Newport and our Sevierville office. And we accept most forms of insurance. To make an appointment in one of our Newport offices or our Sevierville office, please contact us.

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