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!

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