With statistics revealing that 39.6% of all people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, its safe to assume that almost everybody is at risk. And if you’ve known anybody who’s fought cancer, you’ll know how deadly it can be. And like all the other diseases, when it comes to cancer, prevention is better than cure. And here are some ways in which you can cancer-proof your life and reduce your risk of developing the disease.
1. Introduce Certain Anti-Cancer Foods To Your Diet
By eating foods that are rich in antioxidants, you can prevent cancer. They fight the oxidative damage caused due to the scavenging activities of free radicals, which are highly reactive chemical substances that are harmful when present in abundance. Certain foods also contain anti-cancer substances like carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Here are some foods that help fight cancer.1 2
- Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries are known to protect your cells against cancer. One study demonstrated that blackberry and raspberry hindered colon, breast, lung, and gastric human tumor cells by 50, 24, 54, and 37%, respectively.3 4
- Whole grains: To prevent cancer, go for whole grains like bulgur, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, and millet. Whole grains, unlike refined or multi-grains, contain polyphenols that can fight cancer. They also carry protease inhibitors, which are chemicals that can prevent the multiplication of cancerous cells. Whole grains also contain other compounds like saponins, phytic acid, and alkylresorcinols, which are being studied for their anti-cancer properties.5
- Fatty fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish like tuna and sardines can help prevent cancer. Research indicates that consumption of fatty fish is linked to a lower risk of cancer, especially of the breast.6
- Leafy veggies: Eating spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard can help prevent cancer. The antioxidants and carotenoids (plant pigments) present in leafy greens can inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.7
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts, especially walnuts, carry antioxidants like polyphenols, which are believed to fight cancer. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce cancer risk. Flaxseeds, meanwhile, are rich in phytoestrogens that can reduce breast cancer tumor growth by 45 percent.8 9
2. Get Enough Exercise
3. Stop Smoking And Drinking
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again. Stop smoking and drinking excessively. Tobacco use and alcohol, in additional causing a hoard of other terminal illnesses, could also increase cancer risk. The ethanol in alcohol could put you at an increased risk of breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, liver cancer, and cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and esophagus. And smokers, according to studies, could face a seven-fold increased risk of oral cancer.12 13
4. Shed The Extra Pounds
Obesity can be a gateway to various illnesses, one of which is cancer. In the US alone, 3.5% of the new cases of cancer in men and 9.5% cases in women (9.5%) in 2012 were due to obesity. Individuals who are overweight are often affected by a chronic but low-level inflammation, which over time can cause cancer. Excess fat cells are also believed to be a risk factor. To prevent cancer, make sure you exercise regularly and maintain an optimum BMI (body-mass-index).14
5. Check For Abnormal Skin Discoloration Or Lumps
Most cases of skin cancer began as abnormal lumps or moles on the skin. Every month, perform a full-body checkup in front of a mirror and look for any abnormal growths or lumps on your body. Make sure to check your nails and scalp as well. New moles could be a sign of skin cancer or melanoma. If you’re over 40, visit a dermatologist every year, even if you don’t think there’s anything out of ordinary growing on your skin.15
6. Analyze The Medical History Of Your Family
7. Undergo Screening
This is something that most of us ignore. According to Cancer Research, UK, almost half the cancer patients are diagnosed with cancer only when it reaches a critical stage. And an early detection of cancer is important, as effectively treatment early on can inhibit the progression of the tumor cells and increase the chances of survival of the patient.18
Cancer can be fatal. To prevent it and reduce your risk, follow these steps. Also, ensure you maintain a healthy, lifestyle overall, get enough sleep, and be physically active.
|↑1||Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention.
|↑2||Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute.|
|↑3||Foods that fight cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research.|
|↑4||Bowen-Forbes, Camille S., Yanjun Zhang, and Muraleedharan G. Nair. “Anthocyanin content, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties of blackberry and raspberry fruits.” Journal of food composition and analysis 23, no. 6 (2010): 554-560.|
|↑5||Foods that fight cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research.|
|↑6||Omega-3 fatty acids.
|↑7||Foods that fight cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research.|
|↑8||Foods that fight cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research.|
|↑9||Donaldson, Michael S. “Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet.” Nutrition journal 3, no. 1 (2004): 1.|
|↑10||Does regular exercise reduce cancer risk? Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.|
|↑11||Exercise Linked With Lower Risk of 13 Types of Cancer. American Cancer Society.|
|↑12||Alcohol Use and Cancer.
|↑13||Cancer risk associated with alcohol and tobacco use: Focus on upper aerodigestive tract and liver. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.|
|↑14||Obesity and Cancer.
|↑15||New moles present biggest threat for skin cancer. UF Health Podcasts.|
|↑16||Family Cancer Syndromes. American Cancer Society.|
|↑17||The Genetics of Cancer. National Cancer Institute.|
|↑18||Half of cancers diagnosed at late stage as report shows early diagnosis saves lives and could save the NHS money.