Question

Cancer Prevention

What lifestyle changes can I make to reduce my risk of cancer?

A Answers (3)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Did you know that a few small lifestyle changes can cut your risk of cancer by nearly a third? Here's a preliminary list of cancer-preventive changes to make:
    • Quit smoking. Firsthand or secondhand, it's all out of hand. 
    • Eat fish, fruit, vegetables, and 100% whole grains. We do. These low-cal, high-nutrient foods reduce all kinds of cancer risk (heart disease, too). 
    • Cut bad fats and meat. The saturated fat (and calorie overkill) in red meat and full-fat dairy puts you at higher risk for both colon and prostate cancer (and all kinds of other trouble).
    • Watch your waist. Staying slim cuts down on breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney cancers. 
    • Exercise. Just a brisk 30-minute walk daily fights both colon cancer and breast cancer.
    • Go easy on alcohol. No "Cheers." More than one daily drink for women and two for guys increases risk of breast, colon, lung, kidney, and liver cancers.
    • Block that sun. Hats, cover-ups, shade, and SPF 30 sunscreen can protect you from skin cancer. Literally. 
    • See your doc. Get screened for skin, colon, prostate, cervix, and breast cancers.
    • Zap cancer-causing viruses. Get vaccinated against hepatitis B and HPV (human papillomavirus).

    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • APenn Medicine answered

    Some risk factors for cancer are modifiable, meaning they are things you can change. Modifiable risks for cancer include smoking and using tobacco products, being obese or overweight, not eating a healthy diet or using a tanning bed.

    Some risk factors for cancer you cannot change, such as your family history; these are called unmodifiable risk factors. Some risk factors increase the likelihood of one type of cancer, while others can increase the risk of several types. A program like Oncolink’s “What’s My Risk” is designed to identify your personal risk factors, both modifiable and unmodifiable, and help you focus on those you can change, providing resources and tips to make those changes.

  • Avoid using tobacco (smoking or chewing). Eat a healthy diet and avoid eating a lot of processed foods and foods with nitrates. Protect yourself from excess sun exposure that can cause skin damage. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. These have all been shown to decrease cancer risk. Check with your physician to see if there are any appropriate cancer screenings you can do.
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