Cancer Prevention Tips
While cancer isn't always something you can prevent, your lifestyle choices can sometimes put you at a higher risk. The best way to prevent cancer is to live the healthiest life you can and be aware of your risk.
How to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
- Regular breast cancer screenings
- Regular physical exams
- Regular mammograms
- Healthy heart
- Low blood pressure
Knowing whether or not a history of cancer runs in your family and paying attention to your body changes can help physicians catch cancer at its earliest stage, increasing your ability to be cured. While the healthier choice may not always sound the most appealing, keep your eye on the ultimate goal: a long life of health and happiness.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US and it’s most commonly caused by overexposure to the sun. UV rays break down fibers in the skin and can damage the DNA of our skin cells, which leads to skin cancer.
You can greatly reduce your risk for melanoma (skin cancer) by:
- Protecting your skin with clothing when out in the sun
- Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher
- Wearing a hat to shade your face, neck and ears
- Avoiding direct exposure in midday sun
- Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them
- Protecting your skin even when the sun isn't "shining"
- Avoiding tanning booths and sunlamps
Recent research suggests that a healthy diet can decrease your risk for diseases, including cancer. The key is to eat a variety of foods that help you maintain a healthy weight. Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (from plants) are an important part of good nutrition.
Here are some food choices to keep in mind:
- Eat your green leafy veggies! The antioxidants in spinach, kale and lettuce can help stop cell growth in breast, skin, lung, colorectal and stomach cancers.
- Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, oh my! These vegetables may help protect against breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver and cervix cancers.
- Berry delicious! Blueberries, blackberries, you name it. They're a good source of vitamin C, fiber and ellagic acid, which can help prevent skin cancer as well as bladder, lung, esophagus and breast cancers.
- Whole grains for the gain! Whole grain rice, bread, pasta and cereal, rather than over-processed or refined grains and sugars, are the best in preventive nutrition.
- Go lean for protein! Fish, poultry and beans, whether baked, broiled or poached, are the best choice. When eating red meat, buy lean cuts and eat small portions.
You may have heard it before, but this is serious. Tobacco contains nicotine and 69 other chemicals known to cause cancer. These chemicals and toxins cause cell death, cell damage, and cell mutation. Quitting smoking and reducing exposure to second-hand smoking can greatly reduce your risk for cancer and a number of other health conditions as well, including heart disease.
Looking to quit? Ask your doctor for more information about cessation aids like patches or medications.
Oncology providers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center offer guidance on cancer prevention in Williamsport and Wellsboro, PA, to help patients of all ages live longer, healthier lives.