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Top Three Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Cancer

Important Tips from Cancer Prevention and Control Expert Dr. Elizabeth Platz

Focus on changing your lifestyle behaviors where we have evidence of a strong link. Often these lifestyle changes can also reduce your risk for other major chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes. You might as well get the most from your efforts, so choose healthy aging as your goal.

So, what are these lifestyle behaviors?

1. If you smoke, quit.

Did you know that in addition to lung, oral, and esophageal cancers, smoking also causes bladder, kidney, and pancreatic cancers? There are immediate and long-term benefits of quitting smoking. For example, a smoker’s risk of lung and other smoking-associated cancers decreases after quitting. In fact, by 10 years after quitting, the risk of lung cancer is half that of someone who keeps smoking.  Learn how to quit smoking

2. Maintain a healthy weight.

If you are overweight or obese, lose weight. Otherwise, maintain a healthy weight. To reduce your risk of cancer, try to keep your body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 25 and your waist circumference below 35 inches (for women) and 40 inches (for men). Calculate your BMI to see if you are within these ranges.

Did you know that excess body fatness causes breast cancer in post-menopausal women, endometrial cancer, colorectal, pancreatic, kidney, and esophageal cancers?

3. Increase your physical activity and reduce your sedentary time.

Adults should participate in at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity activity; that’s about 30 minutes each day, five days of the week. Plus don’t forget to do muscle-strengthening exercise too. Learn how to increase your physical activity.

Did you know that more physical activity is associated with a LOWER risk of colon cancer, breast cancer in post-menopausal women, and endometrial cancer?

Did you know that a fifth of Americans still smoke, that two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and a fourth of American adults did not participate in any physical activities in the past month?

We know how hard it is to quit smoking, to lose weight, and to increase your physical activity. So think about engaging your family members and friends in your efforts to reduce cancer risk and to promote healthy aging. Everyone wins!

6 thoughts on “Top Three Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Cancer”

  1. Does anyone have recurrent ovarian cancer? I would appreciate your info about ovarian cancer. Also very important does anyone have info on HYPEC!,!! If you have been treated with HYPEC at the time of your surgery would you please contact me!!! Please I was treated with hYPEC after the debunking of my ovarian cancer, stage 3C. This seams to have greatly impacted my treatment since the recurrence of my cancer. HYPEC is where they fill you with chemo close the incision HEAT it to 107 degrees, shake you for an hour. Open your incision, clean out the chemo and close you again. This process as I understood was to get all the tiny cancer they couldn't . It was to give me more hope and a better outcome. As I understand it after the operation and over some time I think it has diminished my chances of recovery of recurrent ovarian cancer. I was told my cancer has returned. If you have info on this subject please contact me. Doctors especially if you have treated your patients with HYPEC for any types of cancer. Thank you

    1. Valerie Matthews-Mehl

      Thank you for your question. I checked back in with Dr. Platz. She said the dietary and lifestyle recommendations provided are beneficial for good health at any age. That said, it's important to recognize that cancer remains a disease of aging, primarily affecting people over age 65. However, heredity can play an important role. People with strong family histories of cancer and/or syndromes or diseases known to be associated with cancer may have a greater risk of developing cancers at a younger age. In addition, there are a few cancers, including Hodgkin's disease, leukemia, testicular cancer, and melanoma skin cancer, that are known to occur in young adults. For all of these reasons, it is important for people to discuss their personal and family histories and any symptoms (i.e., unexplained weight loss, cough, night sweats, severe fatigue, etc.) with their doctors so they can help develop a cancer prevention and screening plan specific to each individual's needs and health and family history.

      Childhood or pediatric cancer is a unique and distinct subset of cancers that are not likely to be related to diet and lifestyle. Pediatric cancer is far less common than cancers occurring in adults, but because of their rarity, symptoms are sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. To learn more about pediatric cancer go to

  2. Pretty useful tips there! kudos for that.
    I would humbly bring in some excellent eating habits, though I should warn there is no research to back this up.
    > Cultivate healthy salads - fresh Veggies like a Combo of Radish + Carrot, even beetroot is good for people who don't have hgh sugar levels.

    > Eat plenty of Garlic, - crushed and aged for about 10 -12 minutes is ideal.
    > The Indian Saffron & Turmeric (learn about the minute dosages though!) in your daily intake will enhance your health dramatically. in fact, I notice The Immune Assay's are far more powerful in less than six months and you are already leading a youthful lifestyle.

    I Once met a 95 year Young trader from Kashmir, India, he was full of wisdom, he said no true Kashmiri ever contracts cancer, because of his rare variety of Almonds, saffron and "untainted" apples in their regular diet. Untainted probably means Apples grown without use of Chemical fertilizers and Insecticides?
    Weighing the risks of being labelled a outspoken guy, I would strongly urge everyone to hit the Gym with vigor and full "energy of the mind" ... Burning Excess Sugar should happen at The GYM, not with METFORMIN....
    Throw out Sugar from your Diet! I personally think it's most useless substance and eventually reduces our quality of life, no matter how less we consume it.
    I have also noticed well, the Diabetes medications lead to more drugs, which inturn leads to more diseases such as high LDL, Cardiac complications, Renal pressures, Cancer. Did anyone read about how a simple drug like METFORMIN over a 10 year period affects our Cancer profile? - Directly or indirectly.? And how would you weigh the benefits of burning sugar levels vis-a-vis the GYM workouts? But then a good GYM trainer can find the right exercising for every kind of person...

    1. Valerie Matthews-Mehl

      Thank you. I asked Dr. Platz. She wholly supports adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet because of the great benefits for good health in general and for cancer. Diabetes is now recognized as a risk factor for many cancers, so she also agrees that reducing one's risk of developing diabetes or better controlling diabetes through changes to diet and lifestyle, where possible, is a good strategy for reducing the risk of diabetes-associated complications and for reducing cancer risk.

  3. It amazes me that so many people still smoke when they know it is a matter of time before they get lung cancer or something else terrible.

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