• Healthy Eating

  • According to the American Cancer Society, evidence suggests that one-third of the more than 500,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year can be attributed to diet and physical activity habits, including being overweight and obese, while another third is caused by exposure to tobacco products. American Cancer Society 2006 Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines 

    There is no certain way to prevent cancer. But doctors have identified several ways of reducing cancer risk, such as:

    • Stop smoking. If you smoke, quit. If you don't smoke, don't start. Smoking is linked to several types of cancer - not just lung cancer. Quitting now will reduce your risk of cancer in the future.
    • Avoid excessive sun exposure. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer. Limit sun exposure by staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing or applying sunscreen.
    • Eat a healthy diet. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Select whole grains and lean proteins.
    • Exercise most days of the week. Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of cancer. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you haven't been exercising regularly, start-out slowly and work your way up to 30 minutes or longer.
    • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of cancer. Work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
    • Schedule cancer screening exams. Talk to your doctor about what types of cancer screening exams are best for you, based on your risk factors.
    • Ask your doctor about immunizations. Certain viruses increase your risk of cancer. Immunizations may help prevent those viruses, including hepatitis B, which increases the risk of liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the risk of cervical cancer and other cancers. Ask your doctor whether immunization against these viruses is appropriate for you.
    • If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your intake. Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men.

    1998-2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)

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