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Lowering Your Risk of Cancer

Updated on June 5, 2010

Fact: Cancer is a terrible disease that wreaks havoc on the lives of many people.

Fact: There are many different types of cancer and many different causes for each of those types.

What these two facts mean when combined together is that there are a significant number of people whose lives have been affected by cancer and yet there is no real cure. The best that we've been able to do so far is to find treatments to beat the disease in some of its forms and to work towards prevention. There are no guarantees that anything you do will certainly lower your risk of cancer. However, there are some methods that many people believe do reduce the risks.

Since there's no cure, it certainly doesn't hurt to incorporate at least some of the following prevention methods into your daily life:

Eat right. There are certain foods which are said to be cancer-causing and others which are believed to reduce cancer. Although the specific foods themselves are important to note, what's more important is the attention that you pay to what goes into your body. Read up about where your foods come from, what's inside of them and what the risks are with certain ingredients. Buy local and organic when you can and try to limit your intake of pesticides.

In terms of specific foods to consume and avoid, here are the major ones:

  • DO EAT broccoli, cauliflower and other "cruciferous veggies".
  • DO EAT cabbage our sauerkraut.
  • DO NOT EAT red meat, especially processed meats (such as hot dogs). Colon cancer has been linked to the excessive consumption of red meat. When you do eat red meat, cook it on a low flame. A higher level of heat causes reactions in the meat which are believed to be cancerous.
  • DO EAT fiber. Beans, cereals, and fiber-based veggies all help clean out your system and reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer such as colorectal cancer.
  • DO DRINK milk. Vitamin D and calcium are important in fighting off cancers of the bone as well as other common cancers.
  • DO NOT DRINK alcohol. Excessive consumption of alcohol is believed to increase the risk of cancer. And it's bad for your body in other ways as well.
  • DO EAT tomatoes. It is believed that the lycopene in tomatoes is cancer-fighting.
  • DO EAT berries. They're a good fruit to add to the diet and are reported to have benefited some cancer patients.
  • DO NOT EAT bad fats. There are many reasons not to eat these including that they're bad for your heart but an additional one is that they may be cancer-causing.
  • DO DRINK water. The more that you flush out your system, the happier that system is going to be.

Exercise: Just like with other advice about getting healthy, you need to exercise if you want to prevent cancer. The basic reason behind this is that a healthy body is less prone to disease. When you exercise, you get all of your body's systems working with one another and improve the entire thing. This means the body is more capable of fighting off cancer. Additionally, some cancers are caused by being overweight, a condition which is obviously fought off by regular exercise. Regular means that you should be doing it daily or as close to daily as possible.

Smoking: Just say no. There's nothing else to say about that. It's a simple fact.

Preventive health screening: Although there are some people who don't believe that screening is necessary, most doctors will tell you that it is. You can be screened for all sorts of cancers including colon cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer. Although this doesn't actually prevent you from getting cancer, it can catch it in the early stages and allow you to treat it before it develops. If you're serious about wanting to make sure that you don't develop cancer, you also need to be serious about catching it when it starts.

Get your shots: There are certain types of cancer that are linked with certain disease. Make sure that you've got your immunity shots in order to reduce your risk. HPV and Hepatitis B are the ones to ask about if you're trying to make sure you don't get something that could ultimately increase your cancer risk.

Talk to your Doctor: Your doctor isn't there only to do those annual screens and shots. Anytime that you are going to start a new medicine, discuss the cancer risks with your doctor. Certain medicines, such as hormone replacement therapy, are associated with cancer risks. It may be wise to avoid them. At least make sure that you get the facts!

Get out in nature: Environmental toxins can cause significant risks to people in terms of cancer. You should get out and breathe fresh, non-polluted air as much as possible. Stay aware of the pollution levels in your own area. However, you should limit your exposure to the sun so be aware of balancing being outside with the risk of the rays. You should make sure that you wear appropriate sunscreens and don't go out into unshaded areas when the heat is at its highest.

Green your home: In addition to those pollutants which are around us outside, there are pollutants in the home which can be cancer-causing. Make an effort to make your home environmentally-friendly in order to reduce your cancer risk. Use organic household products instead of toxic chemicals. (Natural remedies are also good. For example, you can use vinegar and lemon instead of Drano for cleaning out a clogged sink.) Use an indoor air filter and other green equipment to keep your home cancer-free.

There are many different areas of life where you can make minor changes to reduce your risk of getting cancer. However, the key to each of them is the same: ask questions. Ask yourself what's in your food and your household products. Ask your doctor what's in your medicines. And keep on asking others about their tips for reducing the risk of getting cancer!

Resources used for this article: MSNBC,, Wellness Letter, Mayo Clinic


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Jas Sangha 

    11 years ago

    DO NOT DRINK alcohol. Excessive consumption of alcohol is believed to reduce the risk of cancer. And it's bad for your body in other ways as well

    Are you sure this statement is accurate?

  • MrMarmalade profile image


    11 years ago from Sydney

    This information is tremendous and for our continuing good health.


    Thank you. Have a great new year and a better 2008

  • compu-smart profile image

    Tony T 

    11 years ago from London UK

    Priceless information which i will try and follow for new year.


  • soyelude profile image


    11 years ago from Lagos - Nigeria

    Another first for information/education...well done.


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