Exercise, Diet, Screenings Lessen Risk of Cancer

According to the National Institute of Health, certain lifestyle choices can lessen the chances in individual has of developing cancer. However, even though most Americans know that choices such as quitting smoking, protecting skin from sun damage, eating a healthy diet, exercising more, and getting the recommended screenings reduce the risk of cancer, following this vital guidance can often be difficult.  Although targeted treatments for cancer have improved survival rates, and there are more breakthroughs on the horizon, the best option for most of us is still prevention.

Skin Cancer Affects 1 In 5 Americans
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  The two most common types of skin cancer, call basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable.  Melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is much more dangerous.

By now, most people know the use of sunscreen is vital when they are going to be outdoors, even for short period of time.  However, not all screens are created equally.  For maximum protection, oncologists recommend a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater, regardless of skin color or ethnicity.  Other vital guidance includes avoiding tanning beds or sunlamps and examining your skin, head to toe, every month for any changes. You should also have a dermatologist, or your primary care physician examine your skin annually.

Smoking and Cancer
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer.  It is estimated that in the United States, smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer; smokers are 15 to 20% more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. Tobacco products such as cigars or plates also increase the risk for lung cancer, as well as throat and mouth cancer.  Even smokeless tobacco has been proven to increase the risk of oral cancer, throat cancer, stomach and pancreatic cancer.

Another Reason To Stop Smoking
Bladder cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US.  This year, it is estimated nearly 15,000 people will die from the disease. But here’s a real shocker; people who smoke are four times as prone to the malignancy as non-smokers – especially women.  About half of all bladder cancer cases in women age 50 and older or now traceable to smoking. In addition, current smokers are four times as likely to develop bladder cancer as people who have never smoked.

The Role of Diet In Preventing Cancer
Although no particular food or diet product can prevent cancer, there is growing evidence that diet can play a significant role in some types of cancer. For example, studies have found a higher incidence of prostate cancer in men whose diet are high in fats, particular animal fats and low in vegetables.  Likewise, 30 to 40% of certain types of breast cancer have been linked to what we eat, especially if your diet is a contributing factor to obesity.  It is vital to have a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and low in animal fat, processed foods and sugar, that can boost your immune system to help fight diseases such as cancer.

Reduce Cancer Risk With Healthy Choices
Each year, over half a million Americans die of cancer; the startling news is that about 1/3 to 1/2 of these deaths are linked to lifestyle choices and, potentially, could’ve been prevented. Start reducing your risk of cancer by following this vital guidance for your life:
– Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
– Be physically active on a regular basis.
– Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.
– Stop smoking or better yet, never start.
– Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
– Get recommended screenings such as colonoscopies, Pap smears and mammograms.
– Let your doctor know if there is a family history of cancer.

For more information, contact the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute.