9.24.20
10 Lifestyle Changes That Could Reduce Your Cancer Risk By 50%

There may be a lot we don’t yet know about cancer prevention and healing, however, you may not realize that there are quite a few things we do know about cancer and key risk factors we can alter right away.

Dr. Lorenzo Cohen and Alison Jefferies, M Ed. are involved with the Anticancer Lifestyle Program, an online course informed by years of research and work with patients and top physicians at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Cohen is  Director of Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson and Jeffries is the author of Anticancer Living: Transform Your Life and Health with the Mix of Six.

We asked Cohen and Jefferies to share core tips from their learning and they’ve shared this list of ten questions on factors that could decrease your cancer risk by more than fifty percent, as well as improve your odds of surviving and thriving after a cancer diagnosis…

It is now clear that how we live in our bodies, in our communities and the broader world — how we eat, sleep, work and play, manage stress and face life’s challenges, create our support networks and make choices about our environments — has a profound effect on our health and wellness; and on cancer in particular.

A healthy lifestyle along with continued attention to positive behavior changes decreases cancer risk, supports cancer treatments, and generally helps you feel better.

7 Cancer Risks To Consider Addressing Now

01. Am I at a healthy weight? Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of 13 different types of cancer and accounts for 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. Obesity is linked to increased mortality risk from the most common forms of cancer in men (prostate, kidney, colorectal, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and liver)
and women (colorectal, ovary, breast, cervical, kidney, endometrial.

02. Do I smoke or use nicotine or tobacco products? Tobacco is responsible for about
30 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide (though death rates from tobacco- related cancers in the United States have dropped significantly in recent years; tobacco-related deaths continue to rise in the developing world).

03. How much do I drink? Alcohol is listed by the National Toxicology Program as a known human carcinogen. The more someone drinks, the higher their risk of developing certain types of cancers including head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal. In 2009, an estimated 3.5 percent of cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol related.

04. Do I exercise daily? Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week, and children need at least 1 hour a day.

05. Do I limit my sitting time each day? Limit sedentary behavior, as the harms of sedentary behavior and lack of exercise are equivalent to the health risks of smoking or obesity. 

06. Do I treat food as medicine? Eat a primarily whole-foods, variety-filled, high fiber, plant-based diet. Limit foods you know are not nutritious powerhouses (sweets and salty snacks), limit red meat, avoid processed meats, and maintain a balanced glycemic load.

Research confirms this approach will improve health and decrease risk of most non-communicable diseases while improving outcomes for those with cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

07. Do I use nontoxic products in my home and on my body? Limit your exposure to environmental toxins, especially endocrine (hormone) disruptors such as bisphenol A (BPA) and parabens. Hormone disruptors have been implicated in obesity, risk of cancer, and other illnesses.

Other chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis have also been classified as carcinogens (Styrofoam, formaldehyde, and tricolsan to name a few).

08. Do I have a solid love and support network? Seek to foster, surround yourself with, and deliver love and support. Having the right support will allow success in changing difficult lifestyle habits.

Giving and receiving support also provides broad benefits, and can specifically affect how our cells function and express the genes that control our health.

09. Do I manage my stress on a daily basis? Engage in a stress management activity like meditation or yoga on a daily basis – in the morning, before bed, or when you need a “breather” in the middle of a busy day. This aspect of the prescription is critical, as chronic stress has not only been found to sabotage all good healthy intentions, but can negatively affect most biological processes, decreases the beneficial effects of healthy foods, and literally speeds the aging process

10. Do I get enough restful sleep each night? Try to get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to improve your health, coping, mood, weight control, cognitive function, and more.  Children and teenagers need more than 8 hours of sleep a night.  More details are available at the National Sleep Foundation.

Set yourself up for success by engaging in some preparation. We recommend starting with love and support and then ensuring that you are managing your stress, as stress can sabotage your efforts to improve your sleep, diet, and physical activity habits.

Remember, in order to foster our own wellness we must be mindful about every choice we make as we engage in daily life.

Now that you know the pillars of anticancer living, consider the synergy of all areas and encourage others to join you. Although you may stray off the path from time to time, it is still right there beside you. Know it is not a straight line, but a winding road paved for your unique journey.

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.

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