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How can you reduce the risks of cancer?

By July 26, 2017No Comments

Cancer Research UK has found that 4 out of 10 cases of cancer could have been prevented, mainly through simple lifestyle changes. This is no surprise considering what we know about the effects of smoking today, for example.

There are many things you can do to implement these lifestyle changes. As recommended by the NHS, here are the most effective ways of lowering your risk of cancer.

 Eat well

Eating a healthy and balanced diet has many advantages, other than just reducing the risk of cancer. Lots of research into the cancer-diet relationship has resulted in various stories surfacing surrounding food groups and their link to cancer. New evidence has found there is a link between consuming too much red and processed meat with bowel cancer.

In terms of what to eat, there is no single food that can directly prevent the development of cancer. But eating an balanced and healthy diet overall can lower your chances of getting cancer. It is recommended that you try to consume:

  • five portions fruit and vegetables a day (at least)
  • some non-dairy sources of protein; meat, fish, beans
  • some dairy foods; milk, eggs, yoghut
  • very small amount of food and drinks high in sugar and/or fat; fizzy drinks, cake, chocolate, crisps
  • plenty of fibre; pasta, bread, rice

evidence has shown that eating lots of fibre reduces the risk of bowel cancer specifically.

Eating this way will make sure your body has all the nutrition it needs and helps it to function well.

Stay active

Along with eating well, staying active is important to maintaining a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is key as obesity has long been linked to certain cancers such as:

  • bowel cancer
  • breast cancer (if you have been through menopause)
  • cancer of the womb
  • pancreatic cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • oesophageal cancer

Over 60% of Britain’s population are overweight or obese. Follow this page to read more about body mass index.

The NHS also provides a guide on how to start losing weight.

Other than helping make sure you’re a healthy weight, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cancers like endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus), bowel cancer and breast cancer. Research has shown that regular exercise keeps your hormone level balanced, meanwhile high levels of certain hormones can increase the chances of developing cancer.

Stop smoking

A quarter of all deaths caused by cancer are attributed to lung cancer. Smoking doesn’t just put you at slight risk of developing this type of cancer, it is the biggest contributor to its development with 90% of cases of lung cancer related to cigarette smoking.

Cancer Research UK stresses that it is never too late to give up smoking, but the earlier you do the greater the chances of avoiding lung cancer. They have found that “People who quit smoking at 30 live nearly as long as non-smokers, and those who quit at 50 can still undo half the damage.”

To help give up smoking click here

Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink

Whilst it is not necessary, like it is with smoking, to top drinking altogether, overdoing it regularly can increase your chances of developing cancers such as:

  • mouth cancer
  • breast cancer
  • oesophageal cancer
  • pharynx and larynx cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • liver cancer

It is advised that you:

  • drink no more than 14 units a week, for both men and women
  • spread your drinking out if you are consuming as much as 14 units a week

Protect skin from the sun

This is the number one thing to keep in mind when preventing skin cancer! This is especially pressing when visiting a country with a hot and sunny climate.

To protect yourself efficiently:

  • Always apply sunscreen 15-minutes before sun exposure, with a factor of at least 15. Regularly reapply throughout the day.
  • Make sure you don’t burn
  • Seek shade between 11am – 3pm (on and off is fine)
  • Stay hydrated – it helps your skin to retain moisture.

Any moles or freckles you have, keep monitored.  If you notice a change in any, see your GP as this can be an early sign of cancer. Skin cancer is relatively easy to treat, if found early enough.

Check yourself regularly

Get to know your body, and check for any lumps or unexplained bleeding. It may be nothing, but it is always advised to see your GP if you do notice any changes – it could save your life!

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