Cancer is often portrayed as an unstoppable, unavoidable disease. People feel scared and helpless at the idea that this devastating illness may strike at any time, and they are powerless to fight against it. The truth is, there are actually 10 things that you can do which will not only protect your immediate wellness and wellbeing, but will also reduce your chances of getting cancer.
- Don’t smoke. It may seem like an obvious one, but smoking (and being exposed to cigarette smoke) significantly increases your chances of getting cancer, and not just lung cancer but other forms of cancer, too. Quitting smoking can be the best possible thing you can do for your health. Avoid others who smoke, too, as this second-hand smoke also contains up to 60 cancer causing agents.
- Stay safe in the sun. Skin cancer can be prevented by reducing your exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. This can be done either through using a high SPF sun cream or avoiding being in the sun altogether. Stay out of the mid-day sun in particular, as this is when it is hottest.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. These types of food are packed full of antioxidants, which help to repair damaged cells in the body. Look out for green, yellow or orange fruits and vegetables as these are highest in antioxidants. Some fruits such as grapes and blueberries may also help to protect you against cancer.
- Limit red meat. Some studies have shown that red meat increases your risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer. Due to the fat content of these meats, they can also lead to obesity which increases your chance of contracting various cancers.
- Limit your alcohol consumption. Studies have shown that people who drink regularly are at greater risk of getting some types of cancer. Limit your intake of alcohol to protect your health and reduce your risk of cancer.
- Exercise. Keeping fit increases your general health and reduces your chance of getting cancer. In order to benefit, you must exercise for 30 minutes, five times per week.
- Know your family history. Some types of cancer have a hereditary element. If you are aware of cancers within your family, such as ovarian, colon and breast, you can then be vigilant about screenings for these types of cancer.
- Know your workplace risks: If you work with chemicals, dust, fumes or similar, make sure you read up on the risks of exposure, as some types can lead to an increased risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor and manager about how you can stay safe at work.
- Have safe sex. Some types of cervical cancer are caused by sexual contact. Safe sex should always be practised for your health, but can also reduce your risk of cancer.
- See your doctor regularly. Report any worries to your GP and go for any regular screenings that you are due such as prostate exams and mammograms. Cancer is always most easily treated when caught early.