4 Easy Things You Can Do To Significantly Cut Your Cancer Risk

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4 Easy Things You Can Do To Significantly Cut Your Cancer Risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released some surreal information regarding carcinogens found in our food supply. While you might be thinking that they listed flavorings, preservatives, and other additives, they made the statement that bacon and other meats that many enjoy on a daily basis as being carcinogenic. That’s right, your favorite morning breakfast could give you cancer.

According to the WHO, cured and processed meats including bacon, salami, and sausages fall in line with tobacco, alcohol, arsenic and asbestos as group 1 carcinogens. This is because there is a link between eating these types of meat and bowel cancer.

The truth is, there are many things that we are exposed to in everyday life that can cause cancer, such as pollution, cleaning products, birth control pills and even the sun. While we can’t control all of these things in our life, it pays to be at least cognizant of those things that are dangerous for our health and may increase our cancer risk.

According to The American Cancer Society, over 589,000 American die each year of cancer and one-third of these deaths are linked to a bad diet, lack of physical activity and obesity. All things that we can do something about.

So, besides limiting your intake of processed meats, here are four more ways you can do your part to reduce your risk of getting cancer.

1. Don’t Smoke

Hands down, smoking, is one of the worst things that you can do for your health… period. Dangerous and deadly chemicals in cigarettes include benzene, polonium-201, benzopyrene and nitrosamines all cause cancer by damaging our DNA including the genes that protect us from cancer.

These chemicals enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body. Smoking increases the risk of 13 cancers other than lung including larynx, esophagus, mouth and pharynx, pancreas, kidney, liver, stomach, bowel, cervix, ovary, nose, sinuses and even some forms of leukemia.

Smoking is by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the world. It takes more than one in four deaths due to cancer and four out of five lung cancer deaths. The WHO predicts that as long as smoking rates continue as they are, this deadly habit will claim 1 billion deaths by the end of the 21st century.

If you are having trouble quitting, visit your local physician, there are a lot of programs out there that can help. Alternatively, check out our “Quit Smoking Guide“.

2. Maintain Optimal Body Fat

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions all over the world. In America, adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980 and childhood obesity rates have tripled. These expanding waistlines put millions at risk for serious health conditions including cancer.

Fat tissue produces hormones including insulin and oestrogen that travel throughout the bloodstream. Also, excess fat tissue alters levels of sex hormones which may also increase the risk of cancer.

Keeping your weight within the normal range is one very important way to avoid not only cancer but many other dangerous health conditions. For men, it is recommended that you not let your waist size go above 40 inches and 35 for women.

3. Avoid Excess Sunlight

While sunlight is vital for many things including our production of vitamin D, too much sun can be harmful. Both the real sun and sunbeds emit UVA and UVB rays that cause damage to the DNA. The mixture of rays given off by tanning beds is much stronger than natural sunlight. Over time, DNA damage builds up, and cells go wild – this can lead to skin cancer.

UVA and UVB exposure can increase your risk of numerous types of cancer including melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell cancers. Statistics tell us that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Fifty percent of people 65 years or older have had at least one issue with skin cancer.

Although skin cancer is far more common in people who have light skin, hair, and eyes, those with more pigment are not immune. Although having dark skin provides better protection from the sun than light skin, it also can become hyperpigmented and turn into skin cancer. You are more susceptible to skin cancer after you have had an outbreak of acne, eczema, or any other inflammatory condition.

Skin cancer can pop up anywhere on the body, but is most common in areas that have received a lot of sun such as the face, neck, arms and hands. Skin cancer will not cause any extreme itching or pain, but you do need to pay particular attention to changes in skin color, ulcers that are not healing or lumps.

To minimize your cancer risk, avoid getting sunburned. Being smart in the sun is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Stay clear of the sun during the hottest part of the day – generally 11 am – 2 pm. Always protect your eyes and your face and use a non-toxic sunscreen for additional protection.

4. Enjoy Regular Exercise

Not only will regular exercise help to keep your waist size where it should be, but it will also make you feel better, both physically and mentally. Exercise, even just a little each day, can make a world of difference in keeping conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and cancer.

It is never too late to begin and exercise program, no matter how old you are. There are seven cancers that research has shown to be halted by exercise. Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health has shown that women who exercised for 150 minutes a week or more had a 34% lower risk of endometrial cancer compared to those who were not active. Also, they found that women with a body mass index (BMI) lower than 25 had a 73 percent reduced risk compared to inactive women with a BMI over 25.

People who pursue an active lifestyle that included exercising more than 30 minutes a day have a lowered risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. The Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen tells us that 23 percent of colorectal cancers are preventable.

It has also been shown that men who regularly exercise have a lower risk of developing and dying from advanced prostate cancer compared to those with no physical activity.

Women with a family history of breast cancer had a one-fourth reduced risk of breast cancer with just 20 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.

Keep in mind, that when it come to exercise, it is not how aggressive you work out but how consistently that matters. Try to do something every day consistently. It takes about thirty days to develop a good exercise routine.

Although you can’t control exposure to certain pollutants, you can do a great deal to reduce your risk of cancer just by changing a few things in your life. Keep this in mind when you are making food or other lifestyle choices, it does matter.

Read Next: 15 Every Day Things That Increase Your Cancer Risk


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