You must have read or heard big filled headlines like “Healthy living slashes cancer risk”, “Ways to lower your cancer risk”, “Tips to reduce cancer risk”, or “The cancer prevention diet plan”. Is it really true to cut down the cancer risks by simply adopting some healthy lifestyle changes?
In cancer prevention, there is nothing like magic. Remember, doing something for few days cannot bring a drastic change to your health. It takes time and continuous efforts towards doing something. Genetics is not under our control and plays a big big role in cancer. Thus, if you are living a healthy life, you can also develop cancer.
If this is so, then why studies and research works claim to prevent cancer risk by having a healthy lifestyle. Ok, let us dig a little deeper now to understand the relation between a healthy life and cancer.
First, cancer is an abnormal cell growth, i.e. when cells divide continuously without dying and developing new ones. It can occur in any part or organ of the body. Cell division is not under your control. Second, the three factors out of your control are age, genetics, and race. Third, factors under your control include adopting a healthy lifestyle – changes in meals, daily habits, quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol, staying positive, and regular exercising. According to the scientists, changes in lifestyle and physical activities can prevent your cancer risk by 45%. Thus, accept the fact that chances of developing cancer are affected by these two factors. Everything that can help cancer prevention is broadly classified into seven categories: drinking less alcohol, quit smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, protecting skin from sun damage, eating a balanced and healthy diet, and understanding your body. Have a look on the details you need to understand and apply in your lifestyle change plan.
- Balanced and healthy diet: have four to five meals a day. Try less dairy and milk products. Have more fresh fruits and vegetables. Do not have much of processed or red meat. Have some eggs, beans, and fish. Have drinks with less sugar and fat. Have more whole grains, nuts and seeds, extra-virgin olive oil, and plant-based foods.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages: limit your consumption to 2 drinks/day. Try to lessen the amount slowly and leave it completely.
- Quit smoking: smoking leads to various types of cancer and chewing tobacco too. Even second-hand smoke is injurious can lead to cancer development. Quitting smoking is the most important health decision, if you make. Adopt strategies to quit it.
- Healthy weight: obesity puts you on an additional cancer risks. Maintain a healthy weight by choosing light foods and having less high-calorie foods (fats from animal sources and refined sugars).
- Protect skin from sun damage: skin protection can help in development of skin cancers. Avoid going out in mid-day sun, i.e. from 11 am to 3 pm, cover your exposed areas, always keep your face covered when out in the sun, and use UV-protection creams like sunscreen. Do not overuse the sunscreen creams and lotions; they may be harmful too.
- Physically active: physical activities will help you in maintaining a healthy weight. Strive to obtain 150 minutes/week of exercises from mild to intense. If you are obese (BMI ≥ 30), prefer brisk walking to jogging. Doing more is always better.
- Understand/know your body: vaccinations, avoid risky behaviors (do not share needles and practice safe sex), and regular check-ups. Stay stress free, be socially active, build connections with people around you, stay informed and viral it, and do things that relax you. Always wear positivity in your mind, in your body. The more thoughtful you are the happier and longer you live.
If you wish to get in more details then you can definitely consult with your family doctor as well. Even in today’s world of digitization it has become a lot easier to get treatments done through online channel. You can even book an online lab test just by sitting at home. So what are you waiting for, adopt healthy habits and have a healthier and a quality life.