Scar, the evil villain from Disney’s animated film The Lion King, may have been a bad guy, but he got one thing right— be prepared! Or in health terms, let’s talk about prevention. Research suggests that about 70% of your lifetime risk of getting cancer is caused by controllable factors such as diet, exercise and risky behaviors. So here at Little Red Door Cancer Agency we have some tips on how to help reduce your risk and prevent cancer.
1. Do not use tobacco
Tobacco is the leading cause for cancer in adults, so the best thing to do is avoid it. It’s important to know that tobacco products are not just cigarettes, but also include chewing tobacco, dip, swishers, cigarillos and even all forms of e-cigarettes (vapes, JULL, etc.). If you already use one or more of these products, here is a resource for quitting and please talk to your doctor.
2. Eat healthy
Both what you eat and what you choose not to eat are important decisions. Your diet should be rich in:
- healthy fats (like olive oil and avocados, rather than butter)
You should also avoid and/or limit:
- Added sugar (sugary soft drinks, sweetened cereal and candy)
- Refined carbs (white bread, pasta and processed food like pizza)
- Processed meats and red meat
For healthy recipes click here.
3. Be active.
150 minutes weekly or 30 minutes each weekday is the recommended amount of exercise for an adult. Kids need at least 60 minutes a day. No matter what it is – taking a walk, going for a swim or hitting up that fun exercise class— get up and be active!
- Protect yourself from risk
- Protect yourself from the UV rays (natural and artificial)
- Get immunized against Hepatitis B, C and Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Practice safe sex
- Don’t share needles
- Get regular medical care
- For cancer screening guidelines click here.
The best thing about this list is that not only are these cancer-preventing behaviors, but they are also just healthy habits. Living out these tips are a great way to stay healthy and happy!
Written by Madeline Elkin, Health Educator and Outreach Specialist at Little Red Door Cancer Agency, AmeriCorp Public Ally