You've probably heard conflicting reports about cancer prevention. Sometimes the specific cancer-prevention tip recommended in one study or news report is advised against in another. If you're concerned about cancer prevention, take comfort in the fact that small changes in your daily life can make a big difference. Consider seven real-life cancer prevention tips.
1. Don't use tobacco
Using any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix and kidney — and chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don't use tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke may increase your risk of lung cancer.
Avoiding tobacco — or deciding to stop using it — is one of the most important health decisions you can make. It's also an important part of cancer prevention. If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your doctor about stop-smoking products and other strategies for quitting.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can't guarantee cancer prevention, it may help reduce your risk. Consider these guidelines:
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans.
Limit fat. Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-fat foods, particularly those from animal sources. High-fat diets tend to be higher in calories and may increase the risk of overweight or obesity — which can, in turn, increase cancer risk.
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver — increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you've been drinking regularly.
3. Maintain a healthy weight and include physical activity in your daily routine
Maintaining a healthy weight may lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney. Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own may lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better. Try a fitness class, rediscover a favorite sport or meet a friend for daily brisk walks.