You might hear a lot about how cancer can devastate our health and well-being, but how much do you know about reducing the chances of getting it? While you can not control all aspects of your health, there are specific lifestyle changes and strategies that you can adopt to reduce your risk of developing cancers, including female-specific ones. By making informed choices and prioritizing your health, you can actively protect yourself and your health. Here are some easy-to-follow strategies that can help reduce the risk of this disease.
A balanced diet is the cornerstone of good health. With various fruits, grains, lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy unsaturated fats in your diet, your body has the essential nutrients to defend itself against certain diseases, including cancer. These nutrients also include antioxidants, which suppress cell damage and, in turn, reduce the chances of cancer. To get these nutrients, opt for whole grains and colorful fruits and vegetables and limit your intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and large amounts of red or processed meat.
Regular physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduces your risk of various cancers by improving your circulation, boosting your immune system, and promoting your overall well-being. Activities like at least an hour of moderate to vigorous-intensity brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing are great ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life.
Exposing your skin to the harmful UV rays of the sun is one of the major causes of skin cancer. It can also lead to burns, scars, and discomfort. So whenever you are outdoors, especially during peak sun hours and a high UV index, wear enough sunscreen with at least SPF 30. You should also wear protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to protect the rest of your body from the sun. To further reduce your risk of cancer, avoid tanning beds too.
Smoking is a leading cause of lung, mouth, and throat cancer. Now, quitting can be difficult, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. If you’re having trouble dropping the habit, seek support from counseling and support groups to help with your quitting journey.
Like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to several cancers like breast cancer, liver and mouth cancer. If you choose to drink or are perhaps a social drinker, it’s essential to do so in moderation. But it’s much better to go cold turkey with alcohol.
Regular check-ups and screenings can catch potential health problems early on when they are most treatable. These screenings include mammograms, pap smears, and colonoscopies to detect cancer in its earliest stages. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors, family history, and the appropriate screenings for your age bracket.
Unsurprisingly, chronic stress can weaken your immune system and contribute to unhealthy habits like stress eating and a lousy sleeping cycle. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending time with your loved ones, can significantly impact your overall well-being and cancer risk reduction.
For mothers, breastfeeding has been associated with a lower risk of both breast and ovarian cancers. It’s also an excellent way to bond with your baby and provide them with the essential nutrients they need for life.
If you have a family history of cancer –especially breast, ovarian, or colorectal cancer– it’s essential to discuss this with your healthcare provider so they can help you understand your risk and recommend appropriate screening strategies.
You can proactively safeguard your health by adopting a health-conscious lifestyle with your diet, exercise, and other habits. It’s never too late to start making positive changes that can lead to a brighter, healthier future. Remember, every small step counts in the journey toward cancer risk reduction and overall well-being.
Have any questions about a cancer-free lifestyle? Or need help with your diet and screening schedule? Please drop them in the comment section. You can also have a quick chat with an oncologist and a dietitian directly.