5 Ways To Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Nearly 2 million newly reported cancer cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Over 600,000 people die each year of cancer in the United States. Or, to put it another way, that’s around 1600 cancer deaths per day.

Worldwide, there are over 18 million new cases yearly and nearly 10 million deaths.

There are many different types of cancer, each with its risk factors and treatment options. Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Stop Using Tobacco

Cigarette smoking substantially increases your risk for many types of cancer. Not just lung cancer, tobacco smoking is closely associated with cancers of the:

  • Bladder
  • Cervix uteri
  • Colorectum
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney
  • Larynx
  • Lip/mouth/pharynx
  • Pancreas
  • Sinuses
  • Stomach
  • Trachea
  • Urinary bladder
  • Vulva/vagina

Cigarettes are full of carcinogens, and quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you currently smoke or chew tobacco, it’s time to quit. If you don’t, don’t start.

Protect Yourself From Sun Damage

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, yet it’s also one of the most easily preventable. It is mainly caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds.

To protect yourself, use quality sunscreen anytime you are outdoors (including in cold and cloudy weather) and reapply it every two hours. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, and pants to protect your skin further. Stay in shady areas and out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

Not just burned skin—tanned skin is damaged skin.

Eat a Healthy Diet

The food and drinks you consume greatly impact your cancer risk.

To reduce your risk, avoid:

  • processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage)
  • high-temperature cooked red meats (grilling, frying, or broiling)
  • alcohol
  • sugar-sweetened beverages

Instead, focus on consuming a plentiful variety of:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds

Plant-based foods are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that help protect your cells and tissues from damage and have been clearly demonstrated to reduce cancer risk.

Also, maintaining a healthy weight is essential. Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for many types of cancer.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is great for your overall health and can reduce your risk of cancer.

Sedentary lifestyles are closely linked with other cancer risk factors, such as unhealthy dieting, increased body weight, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances.

You don’t need to lift heavy weights at the gym or start running marathons. Just getting up and moving more throughout the day can make a big difference.

Go for a refreshing walk around your neighborhood each day. Join a fun sports league. Plant a garden. Take a yoga class. Any way you can increase your activity level and get your body moving is a step in the right direction.

Get Routine Screenings

Depending on your age, gender, and family history, you may be at increased risk for certain types of cancer.

Talk to your doctor about which cancer screenings you should have and how often you need them. This may involve colonoscopies for colon cancer. Pap smears for cervical cancer, mammograms for breast cancer, or blood tests for prostate cancer.

Early cancer detection is key to successful treatment, so don’t delay getting your screenings.