With the beginning of a new year, many people find themselves making resolutions for the year. Often, these resolutions are health related such as: eating better, working out more, weight loss, etc. But, one resolution we should all be making, whether we already eat well or work out a lot or not, is to take positive steps in cancer prevention. While it often feels like cancer is random because even the healthiest of individuals can still be diagnosed with cancer, there are ways to prevent certain kinds of cancer and it is in our best interest to start taking these cancer prevention steps as soon as possible.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
- A healthy diet seems to be the key to a long and healthy life. While it is no guarantee, a healthy diet can help boost your immune system, improve your skin, extend your life and help you just feel better in general. A healthy diet does not just have to be all salads, try to keep it well rounded. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. The less processed foods you eat, the better – keep food as real and true to its purest form as possible.
2. Prevent Sun Exposure
- Sun exposure has been shown to be linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. Wear sunscreen every day and reapply it often. Additionally, when outside you should try to stay in the shade as much as possible or wear light layers of clothing so that your skin is not directly exposed to the sun.
3. Do Not Smoke
- Smoking is highly addictive and very bad for your health. It is important to avoid smoking and if you already have a smoking habit, work hard as soon as possible to quit. The American Cancer Society discusses the statistical link between smoking and cancer and why it is important to stop smoking as soon as possible if you have already begun, “Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death – with 400,000 Americans dying every year from their own cigarette smoking, and an additional 26,000 – 73,000 nonsmokers dying each year from exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, card accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides COMBINED! Of the roughly 416,000 kids who become daily smokers each year, almost a third will ultimately die from it. Smokers lose, on average, 13 to 14 years of life because of smoking. Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body. It is linked to at least 15 different cancers and accounts for some 30% of all cancer deaths, and 90% of all cases of lung cancer – the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.”
4. Keep Your Weight In Check
- Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of a number of health problems such as cardiovascular issues, higher risk of diabetes and yes, an increased risk of cancer. The National Cancer Institute discusses the research regarding the link between cancer and obesity, “One study, using NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data, estimated that in 2007 in the United States, about 34,000 new cases of cancer in men (4 percent) and 50,500 in women (7 percent) were due to obesity. The percentage of cases attributed to obesity varied widely for different cancer types but was as high as 40 percent for some cancers, particularly endometrial cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma.”