What Can You Do To Prevent Cancer?

Posted on Aug 14 2013 - 12:11am by Ralph Coleman

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Cancer is a deadly disease and can be caused due to hereditary factors as well as environmental factors. Though heredity cannot be controlled, other things can be changed to reduce the risk of developing cancer to a certain extent. It is important to understand how we can control external factors and make suitable changes so that we can successfully prevent cancer or at least reduce the risk of developing it.

Dietary Changes

Some of us belong to the high-risk category, which means that we have a genetic tendency towards developing cancer. Such people must follow an anti-cancer diet.

There are some foods which increase the chances of a person developing cancer while there are some foods that lessen this risk. Research indicates that plant-based dietary patterns may be best for protection against cancer.

A diet that has fewer fats, especially saturated fats will keep cancerous cells at bay. Our body produces bile to digest fat and if there is a lot of bile in the large intestine for too long, it turns into apcholic acid which is a carcinogen. So it is important that you not only eat less fat but also the right kind of fats. Unsaturated fats found in plant foods, like vegetables and legumes are good for you and so are omega 3 fatty acids found in seafood and oils like sunflower, sesame, walnut, flaxseed, pumpkin seed and canola oils. All of these have anti cancer properties.

A high fiber diet also reduces chances of colorectal cancer and breast cancer. Wheat bran, whole grain bread, legumes, kidney beans and prunes are all good sources of fiber. Calcium rich foods and antioxidant rich diet also lower cancer risk.

Eating more of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits also helps to reduce the risk for all kinds of cancers. The phytochemicals present in plant foods help your body to fight cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens like spinach along with tomatoes(they contain lycopene), peppers and garlic contain compounds that block carcinogens from entering healthy cells and thwart the development of estrogen which is a cause for breast cancer.

Red meats and processed meats have been linked to higher incidence of bowel cancer and colorectal cancer. You could replace them with lean meat or seafood. Soy products are also a good source of protein and can be consumed a substitute to meats. They also contain cancer-fighting isoflavones.

When buying packaged foods, check labels and avoid those foods which contain hydrogenated fats as these are carcinogenic.

Exercise is Important

Along with healthy eating habits, it is important to be physically active and maintain a fit body and healthy weight. It not only protects you from chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, but also helps your body flush out toxins which could be carcinogenic.

Workplaces That Should be Avoided

Some work environments might have carcinogens like arsenic, mustard gas, beryllium or coal products. Too much of such chemicals in any workplace can increase the risk of some types of cancers. You must avoid such environments.

Other Preventive Measures

Limiting alcohol intake and reducing or giving up smoking is also beneficial for you. Smoking is linked to cancer of lungs, throat and mouth. Even second-hand smoke contains carcinogens which hamper normal cell development and cause cancer. Alcohol consumption is also proven to increase the risk of cancer by damaging the DNA structure of cells.

Getting regular screenings done also helps to detect any abnormal changes in cells before they turn cancerous. Some kinds of cancers are hereditary. So you must tell your doctor if there is a history of cancer in your family and have a regular screening schedule fixed to eliminate the risk.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Julie, Dave & Family

About the Author

Ralph Coleman is a medical writer who writes well-researched, in-depth cancer articles which provide relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) prides in providing the best cancer treatment solutions to patients who have endured to various cancer types.