These lifestyle choices may make cancer less likely.
You’ve seen the hype-filled headlines: “The Cancer Prevention Diet!” “Slash Your Risk of Cancer in Half in Just Minutes a Day!” Is it true that you can cut your cancer risk with simple choices you make every day?
Well, there’s nothing magic about cancer prevention, no “killer app” that can instantly keep you healthy. Genetics play a big role in cancer, so even if you try to live a perfectly healthy life, it’s possible that you may develop cancer.
But experts estimate that at least a third of all adult cancer cases are linked to lifestyle, which is within your control.
With every healthy choice you make -- and every unhealthy habit you drop -- you’re chipping away at your cancer risk. Here are eight of the healthiest habits you can develop to help prevent cancer (plus a ninth one that experts are still cautious about).
7. Pull Down the Screens.
Many screening tests for various cancers, like mammograms and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, don’t actually prevent cancer -- they just catch it at a very early stage, when it may be more treatable.
But other tests, like Pap tests and colonoscopies, can help detect precancerous changes that, if left untreated, can turn into cervical cancer or colon cancer.
There are many confusing messages about what screening tests different people should use, and when. Instead of trying to figure it out on your own, Ruffin says, talk to your doctor about your individual situation.
Take screening mammograms, for instance. The question isn’t “Should women under 50 get mammograms?” but “Should I,given my own personal situation and family health history, start mammograms before 50?”
“And don’t think one conversation is enough,” Ruffin says. “Things about your health situation change, and so does our knowledge about cancer and screening. Ask your doctor about it this year, and next year, and the year after that.”