Eleven Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
The causes of cancer are complex; therefore, nothing can guarantee that you will never get it. However,
individually we have some power of prevention over many cancers. By adhering to guidelines such as the nine
listed below, your personal liability to cancer can be reduced.
- If you smoke or chew tobacco, quit. Many smokers who conquer the habit do so on their own. Group therapy programs,
nicotine replacement therapy and hypnosis are helpful to some.
- Adjust your diet. While some foods increase the risk of cancer, other kinds apparently act as anticarcinogens, or cancer preventatives.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, or don't drink at all. One or two drinks a day should be the maximum.
- Avoid overexposure to direct sunlight. Use protective clothing and sunscreen preparations of SPF 20 or higher.
Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when ultraviolet rays are strongest. Even one or two bad cases of sunburn
can be dangerous in the long term, particularly for children. For those who want a "bronze" tanned look, self tanning
lotions may provide a safe alternative to sunbathing. Never use a tanning bed.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. If you are overweight, consult your physician about a plan for weight loss.
- Be physically active, and exercise regularly.
- Protect against sexually transmitted infections.
- Have dental and medical X-rays only as necessary. X-ray radiation doses are usually extremely low. However, before you
agree to any X-ray, be satisfied that it is medically necessary or advisable.
- Use caution when handling any potentially harmful substance. Use protective clothing and safety equipment around industrial
and home-use chemicals. Avoid breathing fumes from rubber and petroleum products, and dust from cotton and coal.
- Be alerted to involuntary risk factors. For example, women with a family history of breast cancer should remember they
are at greater risk for cancer at that site. And men over 65 should be aware of their high risk, as a group, for prostate cancer.
- Have regular physical examinations and all recommended cancer checks and tests for your age group. Those aged 20 to 40
should have a cancer-related medical check-up every three years, and those over 40 should every year.