If you can manage to avoid getting cancer in your lifetime, you’ll be dodging a bullet. Approximately 39.6 % of the population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Odds of surviving 5 years or more are pretty good, with 66.9% of people diagnosed with cancer surviving at least 5 years. So your odds are pretty good, and they only keep getting better as medicine advances, but wouldn’t you like to do what you can to avoid having to deal with the insidious disease at all? Let’s talk about some lifestyle changes you can make to do just that.
Don’t Use Tobacco of Any Kind
And if you currently use it, stop. Using tobacco products makes you age faster, makes your skin look awful, makes you generally unhealthy, and increases your risk of cancer, especially (but not only) lung cancer. If you’re currently using tobacco and have had a hard time quitting successfully or are scared to try, reach out to others going through the same thing. You CAN do it, and you will feel much better once you do. Also consider trying a vapor e-cigarette, which has cartridges with a variety of concentrations of nicotine, so you can start with the normal cartridges and gradually switch to the ones with less and less until you’re totally nicotine-free. Vapor is also much easier on your lungs than smoke.
Limit Processed Foods
Consumption of highly processed foods may be linked with cancer risk odds. Processed meats are especially bad in this regard. Try to stick to lean proteins, dark leafy greens, and dark, colorful fruits. Whole grains and beans are also great choices. Try to maintain a healthy weight by avoiding over-consumption of fried foods, and high-sugar foods, especially processed sugars. When you do use sugars, try raw sugars, or better yet, replace sugars in your diet with sweeteners like stevia as much as possible. Some artificial sweeteners may or may not be linked to higher cancer rates, but stevia is not an artificial sweetener, and seems to be completely safe.
Drinking is fine in moderation, but don’t overdo it. Breast, colon, lung, kidney, and especially liver cancer risk all increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been regularly drinking.
Physical activity might actually lower the risk of breast and colon cancer, and it’s just a good idea anyway to stay healthy and feel better in your day to day life. Aim for at least 20 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise. Your heart will appreciate it too!
Limit Sun Exposure
And when you do go out in the sun, use sunscreen! Make sure it’s broad-spectrum and that it’s SPF 30 or higher. If possible, don’t go in the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM, even with sunscreen. And be sure to apply the sunscreen even on overcast days! UV rays can penetrate clouds and are still a danger in winter, too.
And don’t tan. Not with natural sunlight, and not with tanning beds. Just don’t do it. It’s dangerous and damaging and impossible to do safely. Instead, if you really want the tanned look, use a self-tanning product like a tanning lotion or spray tan.