For the new year, resolve to lower your cancer risk. Though some possibility will remain, there are some simple steps you can follow that can help keep you protected:
- This can be your year to quit smoking. Nearly one in three cancer deaths is related to cigarette smoking, according to the American Cancer Society.
- Stay active and fit. Not only is that good for your heart, it’s good for all of you. Overweight people have a higher risk of several types of cancer, and physical activity in and of itself helps fight breast and colon cancer.
- Drink in moderation. Alcohol consumption is linked to cancers of the breast, colon, lung, kidney, and liver. Try to keep it down to one drink per day.
- Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—natural cancer fighters—and avoid fats. High-fat diets increase the risk of obesity.
- Limit consumption of red meats, and sharply limit processed meat preserved with nitrites—a known carcinogen over a long enough time. Salty foods should also be avoided.
- Stay out of direct sunlight, particularly between 10 AM and 4 PM. It’s almost impossible to avoid it entirely, but limit your exposure as much as possible, and wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunblock.
- Be screened regularly if you have a high risk, including simply being over 50 for most cancers. This obviously doesn’t prevent cancer entirely, but it makes it more likely to be caught in earlier, more treatable stages.
Following these tips can help keep you healthy in 2013 and beyond.