10 Tips for National Cancer Prevention Month

Tips for Cancer Prevention

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1,688,780 people were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2017. While that number may seem staggering, the good news is the number of people who die from cancer continues to decline, thanks to treatment advances and early detection.

Perhaps the best news is that cancer is highly preventable. Research shows that just 5 to 10 percent of cancer cases are attributed to genes. Lifestyle and environment likely triggered the remaining 90 to 95 percent.

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. While you are likely well aware of things you should do to prevent cancer –avoiding smoking and wearing sunscreen, and getting regular screenings for colon, breast and prostate cancer, for example– there are other steps you can start taking now to up your odds of remaining cancer-free. In fact, many are surprisingly simple to tackle.

1. Drink Filtered Water

Sipping enough H2O every day is essential to overall health, but it is important to make sure the water you drink is clean and safe. Find out what contaminates are in your tap water (you can check the EWG’s Tap Water Database). If carcinogens are present, you may wish to buy a filter for your home or filtered water from the store.

2. Eat a Rainbow

The more colorful your diet is, the more likely that it is packed with the nutrients your body needs to fight cancer. Load your plate with minimally-processed foods in a variety of hues, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and whole grains.

3. Get on Your Feet

Studies suggest that spending too much time sitting can make you likelier to develop cancer. Find opportunities to stand throughout each day, whether you invest in a special desk that enables you to work while on your feet or you opt to stand while making phone calls, doing chores or even watching television.

4. Have a Cup of Joe

Java lovers rejoice! Drinking coffee regularly could protect against multiple types of cancer. The beans, a rich source of antioxidants, may have other positive effects on your health, as well.

5. Start Moving

Physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of 13 types of cancer. You don’t have to hit the gym or exercise strenuously, either. Walking just 30 minutes at 3 mph 5 days per week can be enough to protect you.

6. Be Picky about Meat

Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon and lunch meat, has been classified as a carcinogen. Red meat has been labeled a possible carcinogen, as well. Make more meals using poultry and fish or create meatless dishes using beans, eggs and other protein sources instead.

7. Shed (Just a Few) Pounds

If you are overweight or obese, you are at a higher risk for cancer. Fortunately, you can begin lowering that risk by losing a minimal amount of weight. Shedding as little as five percent of your body weight can make a major difference.

8. Get Vaccinated

The human papillomavirus can cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal and oral cancer. The HPV vaccine protects against the virus. Another immunization to consider is hepatitis B virus, as a long-lasting hepatitis B virus can cause liver cancer.

9. Up Vitamin D Intake

Studies have shown a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and certain types of cancer. Your primary care provider can test to see if you are deficient in this vitamin and give recommendations for getting more from sun exposure or supplements.

10. Relax

While there is no hard proof that stress can cause cancer, chronic stress can weaken your immune system and potentially speed the development of tumors. Find healthy, positive ways to release the strains of daily life, such as prayer and meditation, exercise or venting to a friend.


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One comment on “10 Tips for National Cancer Prevention Month
  1. Derek Dewitt says:

    I like your point about how exercise can reduce your risk of getting 13 types of cancer. I have a long family history of cancer, so I want to do everything I can to prevent it. I will try to make an effort to go to the gym more.

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