The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, over 400,000 people will have died from the four major cancer types (lung, breast, colon/rectum, prostate) in the United States alone. It’s a sobering statistic, to say the least, enough to give any person pause—no matter their walk of life.
Whether you’ve had personal or indirect experience with this wretched and challenging disease, you likely share a sentiment common to most people: cancer is a terrible trial to be avoided at all costs. So, what can are some simple things we do on a daily basis to help prevent cancer? And in the unfortunate cases where cancer does enter our lives, what can we do to help beat the disease and move on with our lives?
THREE LIFESTYLE CHOICES THAT CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Your diet can play a central role in fighting cancer. Leafy greens, berries, organic meats, nuts, seeds, and even traditional teas are widely viewed as anti-cancer superheroes. Their archenemies? Hormones, antibiotics, refined sugars, oils, and carbs, and fried foods (to name a few). Use this list as a general guideline, making sure to refine your diet as you go, and you’ll be well on your way to living cancer-free.
Exercise. If a healthy diet is the anti-cancer superhero, then exercise is its equally capable sidekick. Fact is, cancer cells hate exercise. Why? Because regular exercise has been shown to drastically reduce cancer risk and slow the development and spread of cancer cells. When it comes to patients who are battling cancer, exercise has been shown, for example, to reduce fatigue and normalize energy levels in breast cancer patients. It can even improve memory in cancer survivors. So, get out, get moving on a regular basis, and you can greatly diminish your cancer risk.
Limit your vices. Okay, we know: it’s a sensitive subject. We all have our vices and few of us are at all proud of them. You might be thinking to yourself, Well, I drink or smoke, yes, but only in moderation. The thing is, when it comes to cancer risk, it’s not just excessive or dangerous alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking that increases cancer risk. Just one drink a day, one cigarette, has been proven to increase cancer risk significantly. Now, we all have to live our lives; but understanding how sensitive our systems truly are to things like alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs can help raise awareness and might give you pause the next time you reach for the glass.
EDUCATE YOURSELF AND COMMIT TO HEALTHIER CHOICES
And that’s what this is all about: educating ourselves about what does and doesn’t increase cancer risk so that we can get in the habit of making smarter lifestyle choices. Easier said than done, it’s true. But when so much is on the line, even one healthier choice a day can make all the difference, right?