A Prescription for Healthy Living

While some cancers cannot be prevented, there is a broad spectrum of the disease that can be prevented simply by implementing certain lifestyle changes. Following this comprehensive guide may save your life, or the life of a loved one.

If You Smoke, Quit

Make today the day that you stomp out a habit that has been linked to many different types of cancers, including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix, and kidney. Chewing tobacco has been linked to such cancers as oral, and pancreatic. Also, reports suggest that secondhand smoke can also increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. So, if you do not smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about developing a smoking cessation strategy. Quitting smoking today is one of the most important decisions you will ever make regarding your health.

You Are What You Eat

Although making healthy choices at the dinner table is not a sure thing when it comes to preventing certain types of cancer, it will help to considerably decrease the associated risks. Next time you are at the grocery store, consider the following rules of thumb when making your grocery selections:

• Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources such as whole grains and beans.
• Limit your intake of fat. Choose leaner cuts of meat and eliminate foods containing a high fat content. Diets that are high in fat tend to contain more calories, which increase a person’s risk of becoming overweight and/or obese.
• Drink alcohol in moderation. The risk of developing cancer of the breast, lung, colon, kidney and liver increases with the consistency and amount of alcohol you drink daily.
• Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly to reduce your risk of developing certain cancers such as colon, kidney, lung, prostate and breast. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as brisk walking, each day.

Limit Sun Exposure

Skin cancer is not only common, but is also the most preventable. To reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, consider the following guidelines:

• Limit exposure to midday sun; the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you happen to be out during those hours, try to stay in the shade as much possible. Wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat will also minimize your exposure to harmful ultra-violet rays. Cover areas of exposed skin. Choose bright and/or dark colored clothing rather than pastel or whites as these colors do not efficiently reflect harmful ultra-violet rays.
• Do not go without sunscreen. In fact, even if you wear makeup, be sure to apply sunscreen underneath your makeup.
• Avoid tanning beds like the plague. These beds are just as dangerous as natural sunlight.

Sun worship is so 1980! To get that sun-kissed glow go faux! Sunless tanners are a great option, and one that allows you to control the depth of your color. To optimize your self-tanned look, exfoliate the areas you plan to cover, so that you will have nice even coverage.


Cancer prevention also includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of being immunized against hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can increase a person’s risk of developing liver cancer. Infants are routinely immunized, but it is also recommended for adults who engage in risky behavior such as multiple sex partners, homosexual sex, and healthcare workers who may be exposed to infected body fluids or blood.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is available to both men and women who are under the age of 26, and were not vaccinated as an child.

Avoid Risky Behavior

Limit your number of sex partners. The more partners you have in a lifetime, the higher your risk of developing a sexually-transmitted disease such as HIV and AIDS. People who have either one of these disease are at a higher risk of developing such cancers as cervical, annual, penile, vulva and vaginal.

Do not share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user is like playing Russian roulette, and can lead to HIV, and hepatitis B and C, which can increase the risk of developing liver cancer.

Early Detection Saves Lives

Regular self-examinations as well as professional screening for various types of cancers such as skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast can increase your chances of early detection and successful treatment. Check with your doctor to see which cancer screenings you would most benefit from. Taking cancer prevention into your own hands can result in rewards that can last a lifetime.

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