There are more than 100 types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cancer is a disease characterized by rapid division and spread of unhealthy cancer cells. These cells can spread to other parts of the body through your blood and lymph system.
Approximately 39.6 percent of men and women will receive a diagnosis of cancer at some time in their lives. A new study published in JAMA Oncology found that lifestyle changes could reduce cancer deaths by 67 percent for men and 59 percent for women. The research suggests that lifestyle changes could drop new cases of cancer by 63 percent in men and 41 percent in women.
Certain factors increase your risk for developing cancer. You cannot control some of these risk factors, such as family history, age, race, ethnicity and gender. In fact, genetics account for 5 to 10 percent of all cancers. About 60 percent of people with cancer are 65 or older, making age the greatest risk factor for developing cancer.
What You Can do to Prevent Cancer
Fortunately, you can significantly reduce your risk for developing cancer by undergoing routine medical care and by making a few lifestyle changes.
Screening for some types of cancers, such as cervical and colorectal cancers, can prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions before they become cancerous. Screening helps detect cancer at an early stage—when treatment works best.
Vaccines can also help reduce your risk for cancer. The human papillomavirus (HPV) shot helps prevent cervical cancer and some other types of cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine can help lower your risk for liver cancer.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices Can Help Lower Your Cancer Risk
Stop using all tobacco products.
Tobacco use is associated with an increased risk for several types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, colon, rectum, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix and ovary.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
To reduce your risk for cancer, limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day if you are a woman or two drinks daily if you are a man. Drinking alcohol can increase your risk for cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver and colon or rectum. It is also associated with female breast cancer, and there is some evidence of an association between alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer.
Practice proper skin care.
You can prevent skin cancer by avoiding indoor tanning and protecting your skin from the sun. Using a tanning bed before the age of 35 can increase your risk for developing the deadliest type of skin cancer–melanoma–by 59 percent, and this risk increases with each use of a tanning bed. Even one indoor tanning session can increase your risk for some types of skin cancer.
Eat healthy and exercise regularly.
A poor diet and sedentary lifestyle are two key factors in cancer development. About 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States are associated with excess body fat, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption.
Excess weight causes the body to produce more hormones known to stimulate the growth of cancer. Keep your body mass index (BMI) below 25. Ask your doctor to help you determine your BMI.
Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy BMI, improves hormone levels and boosts your immune system. For best results, aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity every week
Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Reduce your intake of red meat and processed meat, and choose whole grain products over those containing refined grain.
To learn more about reducing your risk for cancer, make an appointment with Revere Health. Our cancer care specialists keep up to date on the latest research in cancer prevention. Call Revere Health today at (801) 429-8000.
Revere Health Cancer Care offers complete oncology services for patients diagnosed with cancer who may or may not require chemotherapy or radiation treatments.