1. Cut Out Smoking
In the United States, cigarette smoking is responsible for around 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths. Smokers die on average 10 years earlier than non-smokers. Secondhand smoking might potentially increase your risk of cancer. This is cigarette, cigar, or pipe smoke from other individuals. The most important thing you can do to avoid lung cancer is to avoid starting to smoke or to stop smoking if you already do.
2. Maintain a Balanced Diet and Healthy Lifestyle
While food has not been proven to prevent cancer, it is an important factor in cancer prevention. Going on a Mediterranean diet, eating at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, reducing added sugars, cutting down on alcohol, using less salt, and taking vitamin D supplements are all ways to lower cancer risk through food. When you're overweight or obese, your body has more fat than muscle and bone. Losing as little as 5% to 10% of your total body weight can lower your cancer risk. It may appear insignificant, but study has shown that it can benefit your health. Physical activity can aid in the regulation of hormones that contribute to the development of cancer as well as the maintenance of a healthy immune system and body weight.
3. Vaccinate Yourself
HPV vaccinations have been licensed by the FDA to prevent malignancies such as cervical, vaginal, anal, and genital. The vaccine guards against the papillomavirus (HPV). This virus can cause cancer if it persists in the body for an extended period of time. The Hepatitis B vaccination is another FDA-approved vaccine that protects against the virus (HBV). This virus has the potential to cause liver cancer. Talk to your provider if you have any concerns and would like to receive these vaccinations.
4. Limit or Avoid Alcohol Consumption
The risk of cancer grows with the number of drinks drank, regardless of drink type (beer, wine, or liquor), and even one drink per day increases the risk of developing malignancies of the female breast, mouth, and esophagus. Reduced alcohol consumption may lower cancer risk. If you are concerned about your current alcohol consumption considering talking to your provider about your family history of cancer and other risk factors to work out a plan to reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake.
5. Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure
The DNA in our skin cells can be damaged by too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds. Our cells are programmed by DNA. If enough DNA damage accumulates over time, cells can begin to expand out of control, leading to skin cancer. Try your best to always apply sunscreen when exposed and keep reapplying. It’s recommended to reapply sunscreen every half hour to an hour, and it may be more frequent if you’re sweating a lot or go for swim, for example. It may be best to avoid extended sun exposure, in general, if you have pale skin and other skin cancer predispositions, so try and stay in the shade or bring some clothing to cover normally exposed skin areas.
6. Avoid Taking Unnecessary Lifestyle Risks
Be faithful to your partner or open with your sexual encounters. The more sexual partners you have over the course of your life, the more likely you are to get a sexually transmitted infection like HIV or HPV. Cancers of the anus, liver, and lung are more common in HIV/AIDS patients, which is a cause of unprotected sex. HPV is most commonly linked to cervical cancer, but it may also increase the risk of anus, penis, throat, vulva, and vaginal cancers. Never share a needle. Sharing needles with an HIV-positive drug user can result in hepatitis B and C, which can raise the risk of liver cancer.
7. Cancer Screenings and Provider Care
The sooner you identify cancer and receive treatment, the better your prognosis will be. The best way to make sure you give yourself a fighting chance against cancer is to work with your provider to get screened for various cancers. Due to many factors like those listed above and genetics, your provider can help you figure out what cancer screenings would be beneficial for you. There are also at home checks you can perform to monitor body changes that may be signs or symptoms of cancer such as self-breast exams, testicular self-exam, and changing/growing moles.