What You Need to Know About Cancer Prevention

Medical diseases resulting from abnormal growth of cells with the possibility to spread to other parts of the body and invade different organs.  There are many different types of cancers that affect humans.

Although there is no guaranteed method for preventing all cancers, there are many steps that you can take to lower your risk of developing the disease. Making healthy food choices, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting regular screenings, and knowing your family’s cancer history are all ways that can help to reduce your risk.

What nutrition changes can be made?

  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.

  • Get regular exercise. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (walking, biking, yoga) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (running, circuit training, swimming) every week. Exercise should be spread throughout the week, if possible.

  • Stay at a healthy weight. Talk with your health care provider about what your weight should be.

  • Reduce activities that involve a lack of physical activity (are sedentary) such as watching TV.

  • Stay safe in the sun by applying sunscreen and covering up with hats, clothing, and sunglasses.

  • Do not use tanning beds or sunlamps.

  • Avoid exposure to harmful substances such as asbestos, silica, solvents, or radon. Wear a protective mask if you must work near harmful substances. Have your home checked for radon, and hire a professional to lower the radon level if needed.

  • Get vaccines to help prevent conditions that can eventually lead to cancer, such as hepatitis and HPV (human papillomavirus). Ask your health care provider about which vaccines you should get.

Why are these changes important?:

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer and death from cancer.

  • Cancer cases in the United States are linked to higher body weight and obesity, lack of physical activity, and an unhealthy diet.

  • Cutting your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and avoiding sunburns lowers your chance of developing skin cancer or melanoma.

  • HPV is associated with several types of cancer, such as penile, anal, cervical, vulvar, and throat cancer. The HPV vaccine can help to reduce the spread of this virus and help to lower the risk of developing cancer.

What can happen if changes are not made?
If you do not maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, reduce sun exposure, or quit tobacco use, you may raise your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

  • Tobacco use has been linked to cancers of the lung, mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, colon and rectum, and cervix.

  • Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of developing cancers of the breast, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, and gallbladder.

  • Exposure to UV radiation can cause skin damage that can lead to skin cancer and melanoma.

What can I do to lower my risk? 
Along with having a healthy diet and lifestyle, you should talk with your health care provider about recommendations for cancer screening.

  • Pap and HPV testing help to reduce a woman’s risk for developing cervical cancer.

  • Mammograms help to detect signs of breast cancer and have been shown to reduce death from breast cancer in women over age 40.

  • Colorectal cancer screenings—including colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and stool tests—can help to detect early signs of cancer.

  • Lung cancer screening with CT scanning has been shown to reduce cancer deaths in heavy smokers over age 55.

  • Skin exams are sometimes recommended for people who are at a high risk for developing skin cancer. Talk with your health care provider or dermatologist if you notice any new skin changes, moles, or changes to existing moles.

Also talk with your health care provider about any history of cancer in your family. Depending on your family history of cancer, your health care provider may recommend genetic testing to determine whether you may be at higher risk for developing certain types of cancer. Results from these tests can help in making decisions about future medical care and steps for prevention. Sign up for a consultation today.

Where to find more information:
Along with having a healthy diet and lifestyle, you should talk with your health care provider about recommendations for cancer screening.

Contact a health care provider if:
Along with having a healthy diet and lifestyle, you should talk with your health care provider about recommendations for cancer screening.

  • You would like to discuss healthy ways to improve your diet and lifestyle.

  • You would like to learn more about quitting smoking or tobacco use.

  • You would like to discuss your family history of cancer and recommendations for cancer screening.

  • Sign up for a consultation today.

Summary

  • You can take steps to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

  • Maintaining a healthy, plant-based diet is one of the easiest ways to lower your cancer risk.

  • Lifestyle changes can help to reduce your cancer risk. These include staying away from tobacco, reducing sun exposure, and getting regular exercise.

  • Follow recommendations from your health care provider about screening tests for cancer of the cervix, breast, colon and rectum, lung, and skin.

  • Talk with your health care provider about any history of cancer in your family.

Along with having a healthy diet and lifestyle, you should talk with your health care provider about recommendations for cancer screening.