April is Cancer Control Month, an observance focused on making people aware of the need to contain this widespread disease. The month is also dedicated to the memory of those who lost the fight against cancer as well as to those currently battling the disease. Although some cases of cancer are inevitable, others can be prevented with lifestyle changes.
Consider the following tips to minimize your chances of developing cancer:
- Do not use tobacco – Using any type of tobacco brings a person closer to a collision course with this dreaded disease. Smoking is linked to various cancer types, including lung, mouth, larynx, throat, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and cervix. Chewing tobacco can cause pancreatic cancer and cancer of the oral cavity. Even those who avoid tobacco use but are exposed to secondhand smoke can have an increased risk of cancer. Avoid tobacco and second-hand smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet – Eating a healthy diet might help reduce the risk of cancer. Choose lean protein sources and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid too much sugar, salt, and saturated fats.
- Stay fit and active – Obesity is associated with certain types of cancer, including prostate, lung, breast, kidney, and colon. Maintaining a healthy weight will help you stave off cancer. Being physically active can also help you avoid some types of cancer, such as breast and colon.
- Protect yourself from the sun – Skin cancer is very common but often preventable. Exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun is the major cause of skin cancer. If you have to be outside, protect yourself with a broad-brimmed hat or umbrella. You should also use sunscreen, and avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.
- Get immunized – Some immunizations can prevent you from getting viral infections that can lead to cancer. Hepatitis B is an infection that will increase your possibility of getting liver cancer. By getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B, you are taking an important step to ward off cancer. Another key immunization is for the human papillomavirus (HPV). It provides protection against sexually transmitted viruses that can result in cervical and other genital cancers.
- Avoid hazardous behaviors – People who do not practice safe sex or share needles are exposing themselves to a high risk of infection that could lead to some forms of cancer.
- Get regular medical care – Seeing your doctor on a regular basis can help detect the presence of cancer. Cancer is easiest to cure in its earliest stages.
Living healthfully is no guarantee of a problem-free life, but it can certainly help mitigate the risks of cancer.