Cancer is a disease that does not discriminate. Anyone can get cancer, and unfortunately, one of the single factors contributing to the disease is aging. But don’t get discouraged. There are ways to reduce your cancer risk that you can control.
Here are my top ten tips:
Don’t use tobacco. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of cancer death in society. Smoking damages every organ in the human body, is linked to at least 15 different cancers, and accounts for some 30% of all cancer deaths. Cigars and smokeless tobacco are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. Both have been scientifically linked to several types of cancer, especially of the oral cavities, larynx and lung. The Food and Drug Administration also recently determined that electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, contain cancer-causing ingredients.
Avoid secondhand smoke. Second-hand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, also raises your risk of lung cancer. It causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in nonsmokers, according to the American Cancer Society.
Eat a well-balanced, colorful, low fat diet. This doesn’t mean giving up all your favorite foods. The key is moderation. Eating red or processed meats, like hot dogs, or high fat foods, like ice cream sundaes, once in a while won’t make you a sitting target for cancer but they should not comprise the bulk of your diet. Experts say the mainstay of a healthy diet should be plant-based, meaning eating lots of vegetables and fruits; at least five servings per day are recommended. These foods contain important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants and are usually low in calories. In general, those with the most color—orange, green, red and yellow—have the most nutrients.
Get plenty of physical exercise. The link between physical activity and a reduced cancer risk is well established. Exercise is known to improve hormonal, immune, and metabolic functions in the body and these functions provide protective benefits now and in the long term to lower the overall cancer risk.