Tobacco contains many chemicals and accounts for about 30% of cancers. See your health care provider about quitting smoking
. Think of the money you will save and how much better your clothes will smell! Teach kids about smoking. Never smoke around others. Never put up with someone else’s smoke.
Alcohol consumption increases the risk of certain cancers and this risk is compounded if you smoke. If you drink more than one (for women) or two (for men) drinks per day, you have more risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, voice box, and esophagus, and possibly breast cancer. Limit the number of drinks you have per month, and see your health care provider for help with any chemical addiction.
Studies have shown that eating a lot of red meat and salt increases the risk of stomach and colon cancers. Consuming fewer calories has been shown to reduce the risk of several cancers. Try to eat a diet with lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables which may reduce the risk of cancer
. And don’t think you have to change your entire diet overnight. Have a salad every lunch for a week, or a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack. Small changes help!
Lack of Exercise
Obesity and too little exercise are responsible for 30% of several cancers. Losing weight is one of the best ways to lower your risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and cancers of the kidney, colon, and esophagus. As an added benefit, you will have more energy, and be less likely to get injured. Set a goal to keep your Body Mass Index below 25. It is recommended that we each exercise
30 minutes a day most days. Try walking to errands, walk home, so that you get “free” exercise in addition to “working out”. Remember, you don’t have to run a marathon - every block you walk or every pound you lose lowers your risk. Find a walking buddy to make it fun!
Viruses and BacteriaSome viruses
increase the risk of certain cancers. However, making safe choices when it comes to sexual behavior and drug use can help prevent infections that can lead to cancer. There is a vaccine available to both young men and young women for human papillomavirus (HPV) which is transmitted through unprotected sex. There is also a vaccine for Hepatitis B (but not yet for Hepatitis C) which is transmitted by blood transfusions, unprotected sex, and injectable drug use. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated for those infectious diseases that have vaccines available.
Birth control pills may increase risk of breast and liver cancer, but lower the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers. Hormone treatment for menopause has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Talk to your doctor about your individual situation and the risks and benefits of various hormone treatments.