Unhealthy lifestyle habits can play a major role in the development of cancer. Contrary to popular belief, cancer is not inevitable. A person has more control over the disease than he might think. A simple change in lifestyle can go a long way in preventing cancers.
While some factors are beyond our control, here are a few healthy lifestyle habits that can help lower cancer risk.
1.Avoid Smoking Or Exposure To Smoke:
The most important lifestyle choice you can make to cut down your cancer risk by half is to quit smoking. Smoking is responsible for not only lung cancer, but many other types as well. Not exposing yourself to second-hand smoke is also another way to prevent cancer.
Also Read: Home Remedies To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
2.Practice Sun Safety:
By simply using a good sunscreen throughout the day is enough to reduce your risk of skin cancer drastically. Avoid exposure to UV rays as much as possible by avoiding the mid-day sun and wearing protective clothing when outdoors.
3. Include Fruits And Veggies In Your Diet:
A well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants can help repair damaged cells. Green, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain the highest amount of antioxidants and are a great way to prevent cancer.
4. Think Before You Drink:
Studies suggest that men who consume two alcoholic drinks per day and women who have one alcoholic drink per day significantly increase their risk factors for certain type of cancers.
5. Exercise For Cancer Prevention:
It is suggested that a person must exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, for at least 5 days a week. Apart from burning away those extra calories, it also boosts a person's morale by releasing endorphins, the feel good hormone.
Also Read: How Smokers Can Reduce Cancer Risk
6. Drink Water:
Swap sugary drinks like cola or lemonade with water or unsweetened tea or coffee to help reduce your weight, and thus your cancer risk.
7. Know Your Risk Factors At Your Work
There are certain chemicals that are carcinogenic in nature. Constant exposure to these chemicals can increase your risk of developing cancer. Fumes, dust, chemicals like diesel exhaust, arsenic, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, and chloromethyl ethers are all carcinogens and can be found in some work environments. If you are exposed to any of these chemicals be sure to talk to your doctor about how you can stay safe.
8. Get Annual Health Check Ups:
Screening for cancer and getting an annual health check-up helps in not only catching the disease early but also may help in preventing various other lifestyle diseases. Screening tests like a colonoscopy and Pap smear can detect abnormal cellular changes before they turn cancerous, but they are only effective if done regularly.
MD General Medicine, Manipal University, DM, Cancer Institute, Adyar. Medical Oncologist
Dr. Neelesh Reddy is currently the Consultant, Medical Oncologist at the Columbia Asia Hospitals, Bangalore.