Six ways to lower your cancer risk
 
Odds are you know someone – a family member, friend, neighbour, or maybe even yourself – who has had or who currently has cancer. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, two out of every five Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime. It is a life-changing disease that can affect people despite their age, gender or background.
 
But, there are ways to reduce the chance of developing certain cancers. Since April is Daffodil Month, here are six good habits to help lower your cancer risk.
 

  
1. Be tobacco free
Tobacco – whether you smoke it, chew it, or breathe it in second-hand – contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 70+ that are proven to cause cancer. Smoking, in particular, increases your risk of many different health problems and cancers, including lung, mouth, stomach, pancreatic and more.
 
2. Maintain a healthy body weight
People who are overweight or obese are more at-risk of cancers like liver, colorectal, breast and kidney. Researchers aren’t sure how exactly body weight increases your cancer risk, but many believe the ‘how’ is different for each cancer. For example, obesity may cause changes in your hormones, which could explain the increased risk of breast and colorectal cancer.
 
3. Stay active and eat well
Healthy eating and regular exercise are key parts of an overall healthy lifestyle and help you maintain a healthy body weight. In fact, studies show that regular exercise can help reduce the risk of one-third of all cancers!
 
4. Drink less alcohol
According to the International Agency on Cancer Research, drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing head and neck cancers like mouth, throat and esophagus, as well as liver, breast and colorectal. Research hasn’t pinpointed the exact reason alcohol increases your cancer risk, but studies show it increases based on how much you drink and how often.
 
5. Be sun safe
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada and is very preventable. Use sunscreen, cover up and limit your time in the sun to lower your risk of developing skin cancer. And remember: there is no safe way to get a tan. Using tanning beds or UV lamps is just as dangerous for you as direct sun exposure.
 
6. Know your body
Above all, know what is normal for your body and be aware of your family’s cancer history. If you notice anything unusual or note any changes in your health, please report it to your doctor.
 
Stay healthy, Headwaters!