Lifestyle choices that can re­duce your can­cer risk

The Covington News - - HEALTH - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­

In its 2014 World Can­cer Re­port, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion stated that can­cer is the lead­ing cause of death across the globe, caus­ing roughly 8.2 mil­lion deaths in 2012 alone. A generic term for a large group of dis­eases that can af­fect any part of the body, can­cer is char­ac­ter­ized by the rapid cre­ation of ab­nor­mal cells that grow be­yond their usual bound­aries. These ab­nor­mal cells can then in­vade ad­join­ing parts of the body and may even spread to other or­gans.

Pin­point­ing the pre­cise cause of a par­tic­u­lar in­stance of can­cer is dif­fi­cult, but re­searchers have linked cer­tain lifestyle choices with higher in­ci­dences of can­cer. While there’s no guar­an­tee a per­son who makes only healthy lifestyle choices will live life can­cer-free, mak­ing the right choices can greatly re­duce a per­son’s risk of de­vel­op­ing this po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing dis­ease. Avoid to­bacco

To­bacco is bad for you and the peo­ple around you, ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous stud­ies that have linked smok­ing to sev­eral forms of can­cer. Such stud­ies have dis­cov­ered a link be­tween to­bacco and can­cers of the lung, blad­der, cervix, and kid­ney, while chew­ing to­bacco has been linked to pan­cre­atic can­cer and can­cer of the oral cav­ity. Sec­ond­hand smoke also can in­crease the can­cer risk for those around you, in­clud­ing your chil­dren. Stud­ies from the United States Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices and the Na­tional Can­cer In­sti­tute found that 69 of the toxic chem­i­cals in sec­ond­hand smoke cause can­cer. Eat smaller por­tions

High-calo­rie di­ets can in­crease your risk of be­ing over­weight or obese, which the NCI has linked with can­cers of the esoph­a­gus, pan­creas, colon and rec­tum, breast, and kid­ney, among oth­ers. When con­sum­ing al­co­hol, do so in mod­er­a­tion

If you like to con­sume al­co­hol, it’s best to do so only in mod­er­a­tion. The Na­tional Tox­i­col­ogy Pro­gram of the DHHS lists con­sump­tion of al­co­hol as a known hu­man car­cino­gen, not­ing that the more al­co­hol a per­son drinks regularly over time the higher his or her risk of de­vel­op­ing an al­co­hol-as­so­ci­ated can­cer be­comes. Al­co­hol con­sump­tion has been linked to head and neck can­cer, esophageal can­cer, liver can­cer, and breast can­cer. Pro­tect your skin from the sun and UV ra­di­a­tion

The Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety notes that ex­ces­sive ex­po­sure to UV ra­di­a­tion from sun­light or tan­ning beds and lamps is a sig­nif­i­cant risk fac­tor for skin can­cer. Avoid the sun when UV rays are at their strong­est, typ­i­cally in mid­day be­tween the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you must be out­doors dur­ing these times, stay in the shade and gen­er­ously ap­ply sun­screen, reap­ply­ing fre­quently. Tan­ning beds may seem like a safe al­ter­na­tive to nat­u­ral sun­light, but such beds can be just as harm­ful.

Mak­ing cer­tain healthy lifestyle choices may not guar­an­tee you stay can­cer-free, but such choices can greatly re­duce your risk of de­vel­op­ing var­i­ous forms of can­cer.

Photo cour­tesy of Metro Cre­ative Con­nec­tion

Ap­ply­ing and reap­ply­ing sun­screen is one way men, women and chil­dren can ef­fec­tively re­duce their risk for de­vel­op­ing can­cer.

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