You know that cancer is a common, and serious, condition. But did you realize that one in three people will face a diagnosis at some point in their lifetime? Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and nearly 1.5 million new cases will be diagnosed this year.
Those are scary statistics, but luckily our understanding of cancer is rapidly growing. Thanks to extensive research in the field, we know more about cancer prevention than ever. Here are ten rules to live by, to reduce your odds of developing various forms of the disease.
- Avoid all tobacco, even secondhand smoke.
- Watch your weight, and stay within the recommended weight for your height.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a diet high in fiber, fish, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Limit your intake of red meat, fried foods, saturated fats, and sugar.
- Avoid alcohol, or limit yourself to one or two drinks per day. Keep in mind that smoking exacerbates the risk of alcohol exposure.
- Reduce your radiation exposure. Protect yourself from sunburn, only receive medical imaging tests when absolutely needed, and have your home checked for residential rodon.
- Avoid exposure to these toxins: Asbestos, benzene, aromatic amines, and PCBs.
- Get enough vitamin D, either from sunlight or a supplement.
- Ask your doctor about the benefits of taking low-dose aspirin once daily (especially for men). Do not take aspirin without first consulting your doctor, since it can cause dangerous side effects in certain people.
- Avoid infections that can trigger cancer development, such as hepatitis and human papilloma virus (HPV).
None of these preventive methods are guaranteed to prevent cancer, but we do know that a healthy lifestyle greatly reduces your risks.
Most importantly, attend regular check-ups with your physician, and follow his or her advice regarding cancer screenings. He or she can assess your person risk factors, and make recommendations for mammograms, colonoscopies, and other procedures that can detect cancer early, when it is most easily treated.