How Can You Reduce Your Risk?
There is a lot you can do to lower your risk for many types of cancers.
Guidelines to consider adopting to reduce your risk of cancer are:
- Eat more grains and vegetables, limit red meat and avoid processed meat
- Be physically active a minimum of 30 minutes daily
- Do not use any form of tobacco
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Maintain a consistent healthy weight throughout life
Lack of physical activity and being overweight are risk factors for prostate, breast, colon, esophageal, kidney and uterine cancers.
Eat Healthy Foods
You can lower your risk of some cancers by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and by cutting back on saturated fat (solid fats found in meats and dairy products). Vitamin and mineral supplements with A, C, D, and E may also help.
How you prepare your food is equally important as research has shown a connection between certain types of cancer and overcooked meat. To receive more information about our prostate cancer research study, please call Markstein Cancer Services at (510) 869-8833, or send an email to Markstein@sutterhealth.org.
Get plenty of exercise. Fast walking, jogging, bicycling, aerobic dance, or other activities that get your heart rate up will help. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day, five or more days per week. Check with you doctor before starting an exercise program.
Watch Your Weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of cancer. Ask your doctor what your ideal weight should be for your age and height. If you weigh more than you should, lose the extra pounds. Exercise and smart eating will help. Lose weight slowly because “crash” diets almost always fail.
Too much stress can raise your risk for all types of cancer. While you can’t always avoid situations that make you tense, you can ease the strain by practicing stress-reduction techniques, including meditation, deep breathing, mild exercise and yoga.
Smoking increases your risk of getting cancer and causes heart and lung diseases. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. And stay away from people who do smoke to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
If you smoke and want educational information on smoking cessation or second hand smoke or want help quitting, contact Markstein services at (510) 869-8833 for referral to a group or to see a cessation counselor privately.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Doctors advise people who drink to do so in moderation. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, and liver in men and women, and of breast cancer in women. In general, these risks increase after about one daily drink for women and two daily drinks for men. (A drink is defined as 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.)
If alcohol use is a problem for you or a loved one, Alta Bates Summit offers two substance abuse programs:
- MPI Chemical Dependency Treatment Program offers services for adults
- Thunder Road Adolescent Treatment Center helps adolescents stop the cycle of abuse
Practice Sun Safety
Studies suggest that reducing unprotected exposure to the sun and artificial light from tanning beds, tanning booths, and sun lamps can lower the risk of skin cancer. Avoiding sunburns, intermittent high-intensity exposure, and other damage from these sources reduces the chances of getting melanoma skin cancer.
Stay out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when rays can be most harmful. When outside, wear a hat, long sleeves, pants and sunglasses and try to stay in the shade. Use sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 to 30 and reapply throughout the day. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Check your skin regularly for anything new or for changes.
For more information on reducing your risk for prostate cancer, please call Markstein Services at (510) 869-8833.