How Close Do You Follow These Ten Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer?
The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that close to one in three common cancers in the US can be prevented through lifestyle change.
Do you really know what lowers your risk of developing cancer? The AICR has found that you might not have all of the information you need for cancer prevention. And they are taking steps to help steer you in the right direction.
Recently, the AICR released findings of their 8th annual “Cancer Risk Awareness Survey.” Thankfully, it seems obvious that most of us (93%) know that tobacco is a significant risk factor for many types of cancer. We (84%) also know that excessive sun exposure increases risk of skin cancer.
How about extra weight? Most people are very aware that being overweight or obese can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately, only 1 in 2 of us are aware of the significant link between excess body fat and cancer.
The latest research here finds that obesity is linked to the development of 11 types of cancer including esophageal cancer, multiple myeloma, stomach cancer, colon and rectal cancers, biliary (gallbladder) cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer and kidney cancer.
Most of us also know that exercise is an important component of heart health, but not even four in ten Americans know that inactivity increases cancer risk. The AICR states that 30 minutes of moderate activity a day can lower the risk of colorectal, breast and endometrial cancers in particular.
What about alcohol? Too many of us feel like a little wine is good for you. But alcohol is a carcinogen – a cause of at least six cancers including esophageal, liver, head and neck, colorectal and breast cancer.
The United States is not unique to lack of knowledge and lack of adherence to cancer prevention guidelines. A recent Canadian study found that more than 60% (out of a survey population of almost 25,000) failed to meet even three of the seven recommendations for lifestyle changes that could prevent several types of cancer which included physical activity, body size, intake of fruits and vegetables, and limiting both alcohol and red meat.
The American Institute for Cancer Research has published ten diet and activity recommendations for Cancer Prevention. Every step you take closer to following these guidelines will reduce your risk of cancer:
1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Limit sedentary habits.
3. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.
4. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
5. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
6. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.
7. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
8. Don't use supplements to protect against cancer.
9. It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods.
10. After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.
And always remember (as most of you already know) – do not smoke or chew tobacco.
American Institute for Cancer Research: Half of Americans Don’t Know One of the Biggest Cancer Risks. February 2017.
American Institute for Cancer Research: Continuous Update Project - Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective,
Kyrgiou Maria, Kalliala Ilkka, MarkozannesGeorgios, Gunter Marc J, Paraskevaidis Evangelos, Gabra Hani et al. Adiposity and cancer at major anatomical sites: umbrella review of the literatureBMJ 2017; 356 :j477
Whelan Heather, Xu Jian-Yi et al. Alberta’s Tomorrow Project: adherence to cancer prevention recommendations pertaining to diet, physical activity and body size. Published online 25 January 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980016003451
By Jon Sullivan (www.public-domain-photos.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons