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Between 30–50% of cancers can be prevented

Lauren Ryan

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. According to the World Health Organization, 30–50% of cancer cases can be prevented through adopting healthy lifestyle choices and reducing risk factors.

This is a great time to renew your New Year’s resolutions to make healthy choices and become more informed about cancer prevention! Here are tips from the American Institute for Cancer Research and Prevent Cancer Foundation for making lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of cancer.

Tip #1: Eat a healthy diet.

While no single food can prevent cancer by itself, research shows that a plant-based diet helps to lower risk for many cancers.

  • Aim to fill at least two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
  • Avoid soda and sugary drinks, such as fruit punch and sports drinks.
  • Aim fill one-third of your plate with poultry, fish or plant-based protein. Limit consumption of red meats and avoid processed meats.
  • If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks each day to 2 for men and 1 for women.

Tip #2: Get moving.

Physical activity improves your overall health and fitness, and reduces the risk of many diseases, including cancer.

  • Maintain a healthy weight through your life. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
  • Start by doing something that you enjoy such as walking briskly, gardening or biking.

Tip #3: Be your own health advocate.

Take care of yourself by making smart lifestyle choices, understanding your family history, and seeing your doctor regularly.

  • Know your family medical history. Many common conditions can have a strong genetic component.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco products.
  • Talk to your doctor about scheduling regular cancer screenings*, such as mammograms and skin exams.
  • Protect your skin. Be sure to use sun protection, such as sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, year-round.

* After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the ACIR recommendations for cancer prevention.

In honor of National Cancer Prevention Month, Color will match up to $10,000 in donations made to the Every Woman Program during February. To learn more about how to understand your risk and help others, join us at Color.

If you found this information interesting, sign up for our monthly Health Notes here.

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