7 Tips to reduce your risk of getting cancer

We all have to deal with so many things in life – why not take care of your health? The World Health Organization estimates that over 8 million people die every year from cancer, with 16.1 million new cases diagnosed in 2012.

The disease is widespread and can be detrimental to your overall health and well-being if not treated properly. 

You might have heard that cancer is a genetic disease. While this is somewhat true, your lifestyle choices can dramatically increase or decrease your risk of developing the disease.

While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent cancer, a number of lifestyle changes have been shown to lower the risk of developing certain types – or all – cancers.

The following outlines the top tips and lifestyle choices that are proven ways to lower your risk of cancer:

  1. Don’t smoke. Just don’t.

Smoking causes about 20% of all cancers and 30% of all cancer deaths in the US, according to ACS.

About 80% of lung cancers, the leading cause of cancer death in men and women, are caused by smoking, but smoking also increases the risk of other cancers like cancers of the mouth and throat, kidney, liver, bladder, stomach, colon, and pancreas.

Taking any type of tobacco puts you on track to get cancer. Smoking is linked to various cancers like cancer of the lung, throat, mouth, larynx, pancreas, cervix, kidney, and bladder. Exposure to smoke can also increase your risk of lung cancer.

  1. Keep your home stocked with sunscreen—and actually use it.

Skin cancer is one of the most popular kinds of cancer, and it is caused by severe ultraviolet rays from the sun. To prevent it, avoid staying in the sun for extremely long periods, cover exposed body areas, and avoid tanning beds. Don’t forget, use sunscreen.

  1. Eat healthy

Eating well can help you prevent and beat cancer in a variety of ways. Limit your intake of foods with added sugars and solid fats that provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. Some studies suggest a link between the colon and other types of cancer and red meat intake. This is especially true for processed meats such as ham, bacon and hot dogs. If you eat these foods, choose them in moderation. Enjoy a small portion of meat and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

  1. Avoid risky behaviours

Many risky behaviours can cause infections that increase your risk of cancer. People that have HIV or some other sexually transmitted disease are more susceptible to cancer of the anus, lung, penis, and liver. So, ensure you practise safe sex and don’t share needles.

  1. Get vaccinated

Talk to your doctor for vaccination against Hepatitis B and some other infections that can increase your cancer risk. Hepatitis B is known to increase the risk of getting liver cancer, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Maintain or Achieve a Healthy Weight

Excess body weight is associated with an increased risk for several types of cancer. By maintaining healthy body weight, or losing weight if you have a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight or obese range, you can help to reduce your risk.