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Reduce risk during Cancer Control Month

By Eileen Luker
Posted 4/28/19

As we look to end April, which is Cancer Control Month, let’s be sure to take some time to focus on what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. In the United States, men have nearly a 1 in 2 …

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Reduce risk during Cancer Control Month


As we look to end April, which is Cancer Control Month, let’s be sure to take some time to focus on what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.

In the United States, men have nearly a 1 in 2 lifetime risks of developing cancer; for women, the risk is closer to 1 in 3. Lifestyle changes, along with early detection, can help prevent nearly half of the most common cancers, according to the America Institute for Cancer Research. 

Your diet is one of the most important factors under your control that can reduce your risk. In fact, nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention are similar to those for preventing other diseases. 

More than 1.5 million people in the United States get cancer each year, and research shows that many of these cases could be prevented. 

While cancer prevention is still being researched, we do know your chances of developing cancer are effected by the lifestyle choices you make. One-third of all cancer deaths are related to diet and physical activity. 

Here are some of the general guidelines to help reduce your cancer risk through eating right: 

Keep a healthy weight, lighten the load. Limit foods with added sugars and fats that provide a lot of calories. 

Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and make at least half your grains whole grains. 

Limit your meat portions. Choose a variety of protein foods, including seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes and nuts. 

Limit alcohol. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one drink daily for women, and two for men. 

Eating well can help you prevent and beat cancer in a variety of ways. If you have cancer, eating well can positively support treatment. This may help you live well for years to come after treatment.

The following tips can help reduce your cancer risk.

Tip No. 1: Keep a Healthy Weight: 

One in five people who die from cancer have an overweight or obese body mass index. Excess weight increases your risk by 50 percent for endometrial cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma. A higher number of postmenopausal women who are overweight develop breast cancer. Weight in the belly area is most closely connected with an increased risk of certain cancers, like breast cancer. But, obesity is associated with cancer of the 

Colon Pancreas

Gallbladder Prostate

Kidney Rectum

Liver Thyroid

Ovaries Uterus

Tip No. 2: Limit Calorie-Dense, Nutrient-Deficient Foods: 

Reduce your intake of foods with added sugars and solid fats that provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. These foods include: sugar-sweetened beverages, processed snack foods and desserts. Calories add up fast with these sorts of calorie-dense foods, which can lead to weight gain and leaves little room for more healthful, cancer-preventive foods. 

Tip No. 3: Eat Vegetables, Fruits, Whole Grains and Legumes: 

Eating plenty of whole plant foods is linked with a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and colon cancer. At this point, it’s not clear which components in vegetables and fruits are most protective against cancer. So, enjoy a variety of whole foods naturally-rich in nutrients. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and make at least half your grains whole grains. 

Tip No. 4: Moderate Your Meat Portions: 

Some studies suggest a link between colon cancer and eating large amounts of red meat. This is especially true for processed meat such as ham, bacon and hot dogs. Your best bet is to enjoy animal protein in moderation. Enjoy a small portion of meat and fill the rest of your plate with whole grains and vegetables. 

Tip No. 5: Focus on Plant Proteins: 

Beans and lentils are nutritious and affordable sources of protein and dietary fiber. Nutrient-dense plant-based proteins also include tofu and tempeh. Eating more plant protein than animal protein is associated with a lower risk of many types of cancers. 

Tip No. 6: Limit Alcohol: 

Evidence suggests all types of alcoholic drinks may increase your risk of a number of cancers, including cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, colon and rectum. It’s unclear exactly how alcohol affects cancer risk. It is considered to be more harmful when combined with smoking. If consumed at all, limit the intake. A serving of alcohol is considered 1 1/2 fluid ounces of hard liquor, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or 12 fluid ounces of beer. 

Despite the benefits that eating fruits and vegetables can bring, such as lowering the risk of developing cancers, people do not eat enough produce. 

Fresh, frozen, canned or dried, fruits and vegetables are major sources of nutrients we need – but we often don’t eat enough of them. It is important to eat a variety on a regular basis. And be sure to opt for dark green, red and orange vegetables, and beans and peas throughout the week.

Instead of consuming fruits through juices with too much added sugars, try to focus on whole-fruits, which contain fiber and other nutrients, without the added sugars. If you do choose to drink juice, make sure it is 100 percent juice, without added sugars. 

Fulfilling a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise is a simple way to prevent diseases such as cancer from developing. With following these tips, you will be at an advantage in a healthy lifestyle.


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