Cancer is more common now than it has ever been. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer several tips for reducing your cancer risk.
How can I reduce my risk for cancer?
1. Don’t use tobacco
Smoking tobacco increases your risk of lung, bladder, cervix, and kidney cancer. Chewing tobacco increases your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, and pancreas.
2. Eat a healthy diet
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit fat. Avoid high-fat foods, especially fried foods or those from animal sources such as lard, butter, and marbled meats.
- Limit alcohol. No more than two drinks a day for men, or one a day for women.
3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
People who maintain a healthy weight have a lower risk of certain cancers. Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day may also lower your risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
4. Protect yourself from the sun
Skin cancer is one of the most common—and preventable—kinds of cancer.
- Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- When outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible and wear sunglasses or a broad-rimmed hat.
- Cover exposed areas.
- Wear sunscreen and reapply often, especially after swimming.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.
5. Get immunized
Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about vaccinations against:
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Chronic infection with HBV can increase your risk of developing liver cancer.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is sexually transmitted and increases your chance of cervical cancer.
6. Avoid high risk activities
- Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you do have sex.
- Don’t share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user can lead to HIV or HBV, which can increase your risk of liver and other cancers.
7. Take steps to detect cancer early
Regular self-exams and professional screenings for various types of cancers like breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer can help detect it early, when treatment is most likely to be effective. Contact your doctor to see which screening tests are appropriate for you.
For more information about cancer and reducing your risk, visit the CDC.