February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Many things go into a cancer diagnosis family history, genetics, overall health, age, lifestyle choices, and more. However, there are things you can do to lower your risk of cancer or recurrence if you are a survivor. Below are six proven ways to lower your cancer risk:
Follow your recommended screening schedule.
To find up-to-date, screening recommendations for cancer visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Screening recommendations depend on your age, family history, and personal medical history. If you are a cancer survivor, your screening schedule may look different, especially in the five years following cancer treatment. Talk to your doctor about what screening schedule is right for you, and then stick to it! In general, the earlier cancer is found the easier it is to treat.
Eat a variety of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water. Limit sweets and processed foods. Maintaining a healthy weight is shown to reduce cancer risk. Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that fight against cancer.To learn more about eating healthy, visit My PearlPoint.
Live an active lifestyle.
Exercise is important to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing cancer risk. If not currently exercising, gradually work toward 45-60 minutes daily. Be realistic and start slowly.A regular exercise program may help to minimize stress and depression. Choose an enjoyable activity.Enlist a friend or relative as an accountability partner. Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program
Smoking increases your risk of lung, mouth, esophageal, throat, bladder, and pancreatic cancer. Quitting smoking has almost immediate benefits in addition to decreasing your risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor about quitting strategies. To learn more about smoking cessation, visit My PearlPoint.
Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer. Apply SPF 30 sunscreen liberally and reapply every 30 minutes to an hour. Find shade during peak hours. Visit My PearlPoint to learn more about skin protection and identifying possible skin cancers.
Get your recommended vaccinations.
Immunizations help your body build a resistance to specific diseases. The HPV vaccine protects against strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer. For cancer survivors, immunizations are especially important because cancer treatments weaken the body’s immune system so it may be more difficult to fight off these preventable diseases.