February is National Cancer Prevention Month. While you may be well aware of things you should do to prevent cancer such as; avoiding smoking, wearing sunscreen, and talking to your parents about the HPV vaccination, , there are other measures you can take to live a preventative lifestyle. These 10 suggestions may also help with post cancer treatment.
- Drink Filtered Water
The Waterboy once told us that high-quality H2O is essential to overall health. In all seriousness, it is important to make sure that the water you drink is clean and safe. Find out what contaminants are in your tap water by checking the EWG’s Tap Water Database. If carcinogens are present, you can buy a filter for your home or filtered water.
- Eat a Rainbow
Now… we don’t mean a literal rainbow, that is often associated with Unicorns. However, it’s more likely that when your diet is packed with the nutrients your body needs, the better your chances are to fight off cancer. Load your plate with minimally-processed foods in a plethora of hues with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and whole grains.
- Get on Your Feet
Studies suggest that spending too much time sitting can make you likelier to develop cancer. Find opportunities to stand throughout each day, whether you invest in a special desk that enables you to work while on your feet or you opt to stand while making phone calls, doing chores or even watching television. Sedentary behavior, such as prolonged periods of television viewing, sitting, and lying down, is a risk factor for developing chronic conditions, including cancer
- Have a Cup of Coffee or Tea
Coffee and Tea lovers rejoice! Drinking coffee and Tea regularly could protect against multiple types of cancer. Both are a rich source of antioxidants which may have other positive effects on your health as well. Please check with other forms of antioxidants if coffee doesn’t suit you. Keep in mind, coffee and tea do include a large dose of caffeine, which can cause anxiety and increased heart rate. A good alternative would be non-caffeinated versions of these bever
- Start Moving
Physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of 13 types of cancer. You don’t have to over-exert yourself until you pass out. Walking just 30 minutes 3 to 4 days a week can be enough to help. Adolescents and young adults should get at least 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity daily. Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
- Be Picky about Meat
Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon (we know… omg) and lunch meat, has been classified as a probable carcinogen. Try to mix things up by eating more meals involving poultry and fish or create meatless dishes using beans, eggs and other protein sources instead. There are so many tasty options out there, (especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan) you may be surprised!
- Shed (Just a Few) Pounds
If you are overweight or obese, you may be at a higher risk for cancer. The best thing to combat this and lowering your risk, is by exercising to lose a few pounds. Not only will it make a significant difference in your health, but you’ll feel better too! Please take time to read this article that breaks down the dangers of obesity and how it can affect cancer survivorship.
- Get Vaccinated
The human papillomavirus can cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, and oral cancer. The HPV vaccine can help protect against the virus, especially for AYAs (Adolescents and Young Adults). Another immunization to consider is hepatitis B virus, as a long-lasting hepatitis B virus can cause liver cancer. There’s no question, HPV vaccination is something that parents should be talking about, especially when you’re in your teens. However, some good news was announced in October 2018 that the FDA approved expanded use of the vaccine to include ages 27 through 45 old!
- Up Vitamin D Intake
Studies have shown a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and certain types of cancer. Your primary care provider can test to see if you are deficient in this vitamin and give recommendations for getting more from sun exposure or supplements. However, if you plan on soaking up the sun, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen. Not only will it help protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but studies have also shown that overexposure to the sun can lead to different types of skin cancers, such as melanoma. This is especially important for young people!
- Chill Out
While there is no hard proof that stress can cause cancer, chronic stress can weaken your immune system and potentially speed the development of tumors. Find healthy, positive ways to release the strains of daily life, such as spending time with friends and family, going to a yoga class, reading a book or exercising. Check out:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety for other ideas and suggestions!