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How to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Publication: Times Record News, Wichita Falls

According to the World Health Organization, at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable.

Year after year, more research confirms that living a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of many common cancers.

While some cancers can be caused by factors outside of one’s control, the link between poor lifestyle choices and cancer allows people to make better choices, change habits, and potentially lower their risk of cancer and other diseases.

Making healthy choices now can impact cancer risk for years or decades to come. Here are some simple ways you can change your potential risk:

Stop Smoking

If you smoke, now is the time to quit. Researchers believe that cigarette smoking causes nearly one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States. Smoking increases the risk of 15 different cancers in addition to lung cancer. Smoking-related deaths represent 87 percent of lung cancer mortalities, and half of lifetime smokers will die from some tobacco-related disease. Your lung cancer risk increases with each cigarette you smoke and each year you continue to smoke.

Smoking cessation programs, family support, and personal motivation form the backbone of resources available to those who wish to quit.

Smokers who take advantage of all of these begin the process of living a healthier and longer life, while greatly decreasing their risk for lung and other cancers. If you need help kicking the habit, contact the American Cancer Society Quitline (1-877-937-7848) for free, confidential support and information.

Exposure to secondhand smoke remains another preventable key risk factor. The air you breathe is paramount to respiratory health, and avoiding carcinogens like cigarette smoke, asbestos, and air pollution can dramatically decrease lung cancer risk.

Eat Right

Managing weight and eating a well-balanced diet full of powerful nutrients may bolster cancer and other body defenses. Reduce calories by limiting the intake of sugars, saturated fats, trans fats, and alcohol, and include more healthy foods like nutrient-packed produce.

The following diet recommendations from the American Cancer Society can contribute to better overall nutrition:

  • substitute whole grains for refined or processed grains;
  • limit processed and red meats, foods preserved with salt, and fat;
  • no more than one alcoholic drink daily for women and two for men;
  • at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily;
  • and drink plenty of water every day.

Get Screened

Get important cancer screenings when they are due. Screening exams allow cancers to be diagnosed at the earliest stages when treatment will be the most effective.

While many recommended cancer screenings vary by age, all individuals should be aware of the screenings they need at any age. (See the Texas Oncology website for a helpful fact sheet on screenings at www.TexasOncology.com.)

Talk to your doctor about which screenings and prevention steps are right for you.

Get Active

Studies show that more than 50 percent of Americans fail to routinely exercise, despite the fact that being overweight increases the risk of breast, lung, endometrial, esophageal, kidney, pancreas colorectal, thyroid, gallbladder, and other cancers.

Resolve to get active, no matter what the sport.

The American Cancer Society recommends that average, healthy adults participate in a minimum of 75 to 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. Talk to your doctor about to determine the type and amount of physical activity best for your body.

Save Your Skin

While skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, it’s also very preventable by limiting to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Anyone, regardless of skin color, may develop skin cancer, though people with fair skin or those who are outdoors frequently are at higher risk.

One can prevent skin cancer by avoiding sun exposure when possible and taking precautions, such as using sunscreen and covering up the skin.

A person’s cancer risk depends on a variety of factors, but it’s clear that healthy lifestyle choices can lead to fewer cancer diagnoses. By making simple changes, Texans can reduce their risk of disease and look forward to many healthy years ahead.

For more information about cancer prevention, please visit www.TexasOncology.com
Texas Oncology−Wichita Falls Cancer Center is located at 5400 Kell West Blvd. in Wichita Falls,Texas, 940-691-8271.