Cancer, a general category of disease that relates to abnormal cell and tissue growth, spans a wide variety of conditions affecting various parts of the body. While some cancers have causes that are unknown and appear suddenly, many others have been researched extensively over the years and are thus linked to particular risk factors. By implementing healthy habits, individuals can make great strides towards avoiding many forms of cancer as best as they can.
Smoking and Alcohol
Cigarette use and alcohol are both linked to numerous types of cancer across a variety of organ systems. It’s difficult to think of a lifestyle change that will reduce cancer risk as much as cutting out the two drugs from one’s daily routine. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of cancer of the pancreas, lungs, mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidneys, and cervix. Similarly, chewing tobacco can also increase the risk of various oral cancers. Alcohol has also increasingly come under fire for its destructive side effects as they relate to cancer. Esophageal, liver, head, neck, breast, and colorectal cancers are linked to the popular substance. Additional research is underway to assess its connection to other cancers of the human body (e.g. stomach, bladder).
A healthy diet is essential for one’s well-being in general, and the case is no different for cancer prevention. Some studies have found that high fiber diets are beneficial for the colon (for those looking to minimize the risk of colon cancer). Diets with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein are preferable rather than filling your body with high sugar and high fat diets. There is research suggesting that rapidly duplicating cancer cells thrive off of sugar consumption. Obesity itself can be a risk factor for cancer, and thus, weight control is a pertinent concern.
Some health routine changes that may help are more specific and catered to particular populations and circumstances. Skin cancer is linked to tanning salons and excessive UV exposure (via sunlight). The proper use of sunscreen, covering limbs with the appropriate clothing, and avoiding tanning salons altogether can help. Radiation exposure, which can be an issue for those who receive frequent imaging studies, is another relevant environmental exposure.
While it may seem difficult to make multiple changes in your life no matter how small or large of an effect they will have, any positive change is a step in the right direction to preventing cancer. It’s worth reducing the risk!