Reduce Your Risk – Tips for Cancer Prevention

10-26-16-cancerpreventionJamie Vallone, RD, CDN

October is National Breast Cancer and Liver Cancer awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), over one million people in the US are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Research has shown that there are both genetic and environmental risk factors for developing cancer. Although there is no way to completely eliminate your chances of developing cancer, you can take preventative measures by modifying lifestyle behaviors.

Some lifestyle tips for reducing risk of cancer are: 

1.Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight (defined as having a BMI of 25 to 29.9) or obese (defined as having a BMI of 30 or higher) means having too much body fat compared to lean muscle mass, and can increase risk of cancer. Monitoring your food intake and engaging in physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight. You can calculate your BMI at 

2.Engage in regular physical activity. Physical activity can help control your weight and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. The ACS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

3.Avoid tobacco. Tobacco use has been linked to several types of cancer including mouth, lung, liver, stomach, and bladder cancer, and accounts for approximately 30 percent of deaths related to cancer. Limiting your exposure to tobacco, from both direct use and through second-hand smoke, can help decrease your risk of developing these cancers.

4.Consume more fruits and vegetables and limit your consumption of processed meats. Many fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli and berries, contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that can help reduce cancer risk. Processed meats, such as hotdogs and bacon, may contain carcinogens and have been linked to bowel cancer, so intake should be limited.

5. Limit consumption of alcohol. Alcohol use has been linked to head and neck cancer. The ACS recommends limiting alcohol to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

In addition to modifying lifestyle behaviors, regular visits with your doctor are also important in early cancer detection and prevention, especially if you have a family history of cancer.

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