A major epidemiological study published in the British Journal of Cancer determined that approximately 40% of cancers were caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. Here are twelve simple ways you can protect yourself from the Big C.
1. Reduce Your Sugar Intake
High blood sugar levels increase the activity of a protein (beta-catenin) known to be a major factor in the development of cancer. Epidemiological studies have linked high sugar intake to breast, pancreatic and colon cancers.
2. Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke contains over 60 known carcinogens which interfere with normal cell development. Stay away from places where smokers hang out and encourage smoking friends or relatives to quit.
3. Be Sun-Savvy
Skin cancer accounts for half of all cancer diagnoses, yet is one of the most preventable types. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing outdoors and avoid mid-day sun.
4. Eat More Garlic
The organosulphur compounds in garlic activate enzymes which inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. The Iowa Womens Study found that women who ate the most garlic reduced their risk of colon cancer by 50% compared with those who ate the least.
5. Know Your Family Medical History
Many types of cancer have a genetic component. If any of your relatives has suffered from cancer, you may be at higher risk. Speak to your doctor about cancer screening and genetic testing.
6. Limit Exposure To Chemicals In The Workplace
Some work environments contain high levels of carcinogens such as beryllium, vinyl chloride and arsenic which can increase your risk of kidney, bladder and other cancers. Speak to your employer about ways to reduce your exposure.
7. Take Recommended Cancer Screening Tests
Your doctor may recommend particular cancer screening tests based on your age, gender and known risk factors. Pap smears and colonoscopies can detect abnormal cellular changes before they turn cancerous.
8. Marinate Red Meat
Cooking red meat at high temperatures creates compounds called heterocyclic amines that have been linked to cancer. One study found that the amount of these harmful compounds can be reduced by marinating meat in beer or wine for two hours before cooking.
9. Eat More Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain a powerful anti-oxidant called lycopene. A study involving 20,000 British men found that those who consumed ten portions of tomatoes each week lowered their risk for prostate cancer by 18%.
10. Buy Wash-And-Wear Clothing
Many dry cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene which has been linked to liver and kidney cancer. Limit your exposure by wearing clothes that don’t require dry-cleaning.
11. Avoid French Fries And Potato Chips
Deep-frying potatoes causes chemical changes that produce a compound called acrylamide. Studies on rats have shown that acrylamide exposure increases the risk for several types of cancer.
12. Eat More Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are an excellent source of the cancer-fighting mineral selenium. Studies have shown that 200 micrograms of selenium a day (the amount in two Brazil nuts) can significantly reduce the risk for prostate, colon and lung cancer.