How to cut your risk of can­cer

We all know some­one who’s been af­fected by can­cer, so it’s no sur­prise it’s top of our worry list. But with many of the risk fac­tors within our con­trol, here’s how you can ease the anx­i­ety

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The sim­ple life­style shifts that can dra­mat­i­cally lower your risk

Here’s an as­ton­ish­ing – and rather re­as­sur­ing – fact about can­cer that you may not al­ready know: a mas­sive nine out of 10 cases are caused by life­style. This means that, in many cases, your health is in your own hands, and by mak­ing small tweaks, you can safe­guard your body right through to old age.

Cut­ting-edge re­search is help­ing to dis­cover new ways to limit our can­cer risk, and they’re of­ten as sim­ple as chang­ing what we eat or adding a few min­utes of the right kind of ac­tiv­ity to our days. So when we read the scary statis­tic that can­cer rates will in­crease nearly six times faster in women than in men dur­ing the next two decades, we shouldn’t panic, say med­i­cal ex­perts.

‘The pre­dicted rise in fe­male can­cer rates is mainly down to life­style, most ob­vi­ously obe­sity, but also al­co­hol, smok­ing, too much sit­ting and low up­take of can­cer screen­ings,’ says Dr Emma Cros­bie, can­cer sur­geon and mem­ber of well­bein­gof­women.org.uk.

A few sim­ple life­style shifts can dra­mat­i­cally lower your risk of a whole host of fe­male can­cers. Here’s how…

‘Women who are ac­tive have a lower risk of can­cer. You don’t have to go to a gym – just walk­ing is great’

al­ways walk. Get off the bus a stop early, cy­cle to work, take the dog out for a lit­tle longer. Clean­ing and gro­cery shop­ping count – any­thing that gets you mov­ing.’

There’s a lot of hype around stand­ing desks, too, but the best op­tion is an ad­justable desk, where you can al­ter­nate be­tween sit­ting and stand­ing through­out the day. When re­searchers gave peo­ple sit-stand desks, it re­duced their seden­tary time by more than three hours a week. If you work in an of­fice, make an ef­fort to in­cor­po­rate more ac­tiv­ity into your days – print at the fur­thest printer, go to the loo on the next floor, take half an hour of ex­er­cise at lunchtime. It all adds up.

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