Think there’s nothing you can do to prevent being diagnosed with cancer? Think again. More than 40% of all diagnosed cancers and nearly 50% of all cancer-related deaths in the United States can be attributed to preventable causes.
While there is no certain way to prevent cancer, things like excess body weight, physical inactivity, smoking, and prolonged exposure to the sun increase the chances. You can lower those risks through healthy lifestyle choices, getting recommended cancer screenings, and vaccinating against certain viruses.
Cancer Prevention Awareness Month helps educate people about the steps they can take to stay safer. For example, the awareness campaign is one of the reasons cigarette smoking rates among U.S. adults has been reduced by greater than twofold from 1965 to 2017. But there’s more work to be accomplished: 3 out of 10 cancer deaths are still caused by cigarette smoking, and lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women.
By taking six simple steps, you can help reduce your risk and maintain a healthier, longer life.
6 Simple Steps For Cancer Prevention
- Maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy weight
- Eat a plant-based diet and decrease your intake of higher calorie food.
- Limit processed meats and alcohol.
- Include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. Doctors recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco products
- All forms of tobacco products have many chemicals that damage DNA and cause cancer.
- No forms are safe including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco/snuff, hookas/waterpipes, and even secondhand smoke.
- If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your doctor about products and strategies available to support you.
- Sun protection
- Stay out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Generously use sunscreen, cover exposed areas with hats or loose clothing, and utilize the shady areas when outdoors.
- Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.
- Get Immunized
- Certain viruses can cause cancer. There are vaccines that have been proven to be effective to reduce your risk.
- The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine can significantly decrease the risk of several cancers including cervical, throat, tongue, anal, and other genital cancers.
- The Hepatitis B vaccine decreases the risk for liver cancer.
- Get Screened
- Regular screenings help detect cancers early and maximize your chance for successful treatment.
- Know Your Family History
- 5-10% of all cancers are inherited.
- Understanding your family history can help guide your discussion with your physician of when you need to start cancer screening and whether to consider genetic counseling.
These simple steps can help prevent cancer. Being prepared for a cancer diagnosis is also important. A Cancer Plan from ASBA can help. The plan will pay you a lump sum upon initial diagnosis. You’re free to spend the money as you wish: to pay medical bills, cover the cost of transportation to the doctor, anything – the money is yours. You can even add a Heart/Stroke rider to your policy for an additional premium. Request more information here.