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How do I Lower my Cancer Risk?

If humans tried hard, they still couldn’t avoid every possible substance or potential exposure to things that cause cancer. New studies released to the public are constantly discussing potential cancer causing agents, and there may be genetic links to certain cancers that make people predisposed or more likely to get cancer, even with perfect behavior. However, there are some things that can help lower cancer risk, and really it is the way people live their lives in total that might help make a difference in whether they get cancer.

One of the big things that people can do to avoid cancer is to not smoke or use tobacco in smokeless forms. Tobacco has huge numbers of carcinogens (known cancer causing agents) that definitely increase cancer risk. Smoking or using smokeless tobacco is not necessary, and those people who do so at present can start reducing cancer risk by stopping. It is difficult to stop using this addictive substance, but those with the strength to overcome this addiction may add years to their lives and lower risk for numerous diseases.

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Another way to lower cancer risk is to work on avoiding sun exposure or using appropriate sunscreen levels when outdoors, every day. Though people do need vitamin D from the sun, they can usually get this in good supply in just a few minutes a day. The rest of the time spent outside raises risk for skin cancers, and it doesn’t take much to permanently damage skin and elevate this risk. Wearing protective clothing, hats and sunscreen can go a long way toward minimizing risk of skin cancer.

Women and men may help each other by being particularly careful about sexual behavior. Several forms of cervical cancer are directly caused by a few strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). There now exists an HPV vaccine, but this doesn’t prevent all forms of HPV or all forms of cervical cancer. Even more important than vaccination can be discretion in choosing sexual partners. Having multiple partners creates increased risk, as does unprotected sexual encounters.

Diet can play an important role in cancer prevention. People may lower cancer risk by choosing to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit a day. There are many special fruits and vegetables, like blueberries or cabbage that have been shown to have cancer fighting agents, and choosing to eat these and many others may help reduce cancer incidence. Eating appropriate amounts of dietary fiber is also valuable, since keeping bowel movements regular might reduce some risk of colorectal cancer.

As much as choosing fruits, veggies and fibers or grains are good ideas, people should also learn what to avoid. Alcohol consumption should be limited to no more than one drink per day. People may also slightly reduce cancer risk by avoiding foods with lots of preservatives or dyes in them. Generally, more natural and less processed food is looked upon as healthful, while greatly processed foods might contain agents that are not good for the body.

People are also advised to adhere to medical guidelines for cancer screenings. Women should have pap smears on a regular basis, and start getting mammograms at about the age of 40. Men and women both may benefit from having screens for colon cancer in mid-life. Any suspicious skin growths or moles should be checked right away. Men should self-examine testicles once a month, and women should perform regular breast self-exams. While these behaviors may not lower cancer risk, they might catch it an early stage when it is still highly treatable.

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