October 3rd, 2011 by Digestive Detective
Cancer researchers and experts believe that one-third to one-half of all cancers can be prevented. That's because there are certain things about our lifestyles-our daily habits-that can make us more likely to get cancer. Here are nine steps you can take today to help prevent cancer:
1. Quit smoking. When you quit smoking, you lower your chances of getting many types of cancer. Smoking makes you more likely to get
cancers of the lung, bladder, kidneys, pancreas, cervix, mouth, esophagus, and throat.
Your FitRx: While smoking can prove to be a hard habit to kick, there are a variety of smoking cessation program options and aids that are available. Talk to your doctor and investigate smoking cessation programs that may be available for free through your employer or community.
2. Eat well. Poor nutritional habits can lead to a variety of health issues including making you more prone to a number of cancers. In general, a diet high in processed foods, sugars and unhealthy fats can lead to cancer.
Your FitRx: Eat a diet that is comprised of a wide array of fresh (preferably organic) vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish and poultry. In several studies, foods rich in folate, vitamin D, cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, broccoli), tea and spices such as curcumin and ginger, have all exhibited excellent cancer-fighting properties.
3. Stay at a healthy weight. If you are very overweight, your chances of getting some forms of cancer are higher. And people whose extra fat is in the waist area may be at higher risk than people whose extra fat is in the hips or thighs.
Your FitRx: Becoming more active, developing healthy eating habits and lowering your stress are all keys to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
4. Stay active. Being active every day may prevent a number of cancers. And regular activity can help you get to and stay at a healthy weight, which can also help keep you from getting cancer. According to WebMD.com, being physically active and getting enough sleep may work together to lower your cancer risk even more than activity alone, especially for women.
Your FitRx: For some, exercise is a bore and a chore, but it doesn’t have to be – the trick is to find an activity that you enjoy and simply make a habit of doing it each day. For some it may be walking, for others swimming, while others may opt to hit the gym. Whatever it is that
you choose to do, make it a priority in your life and take note of the way you feel once you become more active.
5. Protect your skin. While exposure to sunlight is beneficial for soaking up some vitamin D (15 minutes worth will provide recommended daily amount), overexposure leads to cellular damage that can result in skin cancer.
Your FitRx: Stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the hours of peak ultraviolet (UV) exposure and avoid tanning booths which emit UV radiation and can cause skin damage.
6. Drink alcohol wisely. People who drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day-and especially those who drink more than 3 drinks a day-have a slightly higher risk for colon cancer. According to research, alcohol consumption leads to extra estrogen in the body, which raises the risk for breast cancer in women.
Your FitRx: Drink in moderation and limit drinking especially if cancer is prevalent in the family.
7. Get adequate sleep during ideal evening hours. In 2007, the World Health Organization, classified shift work as a "probable"
carcinogen. The research suggests that inadequate sleep and a lack of sleep outside of our natural circadian rhythms, or sleep cycles, disrupts key hormonal responses that can trigger cancer growth.
Your FitRx: Get adequate sleep each night ideally between the hours of 10pm and 6am – our innate sleep cycles. To ensure a restful sleep, dim lights in the evening prior to bedtime, and sleep in a dark, quiet room void of electronic devices as they serve to interrupt biochemical
responses that provide restorative sleep.
8. Get regular checkups and screenings. A number of cancers have a high degree of success with treatment and remission when detected early. Having the annual and semiannual screenings with your physician can ensure early detection and prevention.
Your FitRx: Stay up to date with screenings such as pap smear for cervical cancer, mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopy for colon cancer, and dermatological screenings for skin cancer.
9. Avoid toxins and other poisons at work and at home. Toxins in the form of chemical cleansers/solvents, pesticides/herbicides, industrial waste, and those found in building materials are all potential carcinogens. Asbestos and radon are commonly found in buildings and many conventional crops (non-organic) are treated with pesticides/herbicides. Harsh, caustic cleansers that contain carcinogenic compounds such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) line the shelves of stores.
Your FitRx: Opt for natural, organic cleaners for your household and choose hygiene products that are free from such compounds. Eat organic whenever possible, and if painting or working around the house, use plenty of ventilation and try to use products that contain few if any VOCs.