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How Lifestyle Choices Can Impact Your Risk of Cancer

As we age, the risk of developing cancer increases. While some cancers may be caused by genetic predisposition or environmental factors we can’t control, there are lifestyle choices that can contribute to our risk of developing cancer. Making the right lifestyle choices can decrease the risk of cancer and enhance our overall health and wellbeing.

Smoking: Tobacco smoke is linked to many forms of cancer, including lung, liver, stomach, pancreas, and colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, one in three cancer deaths in the U.S. is related to smoking. The best way to reduce your risk of cancer is to stop smoking or never start.

Alcohol: The consumption of alcohol is associated with an increased risk of cancer, particularly in the mouth, throat, liver, breast, and colon. Women should limit their alcohol intake to one drink per day, and men should limit their intake to two drinks per day.

Diet: Eating a healthy diet is essential to good health and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and low in saturated and trans fats can help to reduce the risk of cancer. Red meat and processed meat should be limited, and alcohol intake should be avoided.

Physical activity: Regular physical activity has numerous cancer-fighting benefits, including reducing the risk of colon, breast, and lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week.

Sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds can lead to skin cancer, melanoma being the most serious form of skin cancer. To reduce the risk of skin cancer, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, seek shade between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, and wear protective clothing, including a hat and sunglasses.

Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental factors such as air pollution and secondhand smoke can increase the risk of cancer. Limit exposure to environmental toxins by wearing protective clothing, masks, or respirators when appropriate.

Regular screening: Regular cancer screenings can detect cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat. Screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and pap tests should be done as recommended by your doctor.

In conclusion, we cannot eliminate the risk of cancer completely, but by making healthy lifestyle choices, we can decrease our risk of cancer and improve our overall health and wellbeing. Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, reducing exposure to UV radiation and environmental toxins, and regular cancer screenings can all play a significant role in reducing the risk of cancer.


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