As we get older, we all understand that the risks of several different health issues go up. Our bodies put up with an awful lot, but as we age it is important that we try to make things a little easier for them by cutting down on, or cutting out completely, some of the behavior that puts them under strain. The prospect of a disease such as cancer is of course an alarming one. However, it is important to remember that, as common as it is, there are some things that you can do that will improve your odds of avoiding it. Here are just a few of the changes that you can make that will help you in this process.
You Need To Stop Smoking
Let’s start with the one that everyone knows but some people prefer not to think about. Smoking tobacco is one of the biggest contributors to your cancer risk factor and it has been proven to cause several other major health issues too. It’s estimated to cause 1 in 5 deaths every year. Smoking tobacco can cause cancer in several different parts of your body, including your throat, lungs, cervix, larynx, kidney, bladder, and pancreas. It is not easy to give up smoking, but it is one of the most positive steps that you can take towards improving your health.
Cut Down On Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol in excess has been shown to increase your risk of cancer. It is important to remember that the type of alcohol that you drink does not make any difference. As much as research has suggested that having a glass of red wine every now and again might help to boost your antioxidants, drinking red wine regularly will put you at just as much risk as beer, spirits and so on. Cutting back on your drinking can be tough, and a lot of people have started to become reliant on alcohol during the pandemic. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or to seek other help if you are struggling to limit your intake.
Get Checked Regularly
There may be a limit to how much you can do to avoid getting cancer but one of the most effective things that you can do is to be tested on a regular basis. It is so important to identify any warning signs as soon as you can, as cancer treatment is much more likely to be effective if you catch the problem early. There are several checks that you should do yourself routinely, such as checking for any unusual lumps or bumps and looking for any new moles on your skin.
It is also a good idea to understand how at risk you may be. A cancer risk calculator may help you to decide how frequently you want to be going in for a scan or check-up. This tool from Ezra can give you an indication of the kind of cancer risk factor that you are facing. Their five-minute quiz takes your lifestyle, family history and medical history into account, and it is based on the Harvard Cancer Risk Index developed by the Harvard Center for Cancer Protection.
Stay Active And Watch Your Weight
Keeping fit and keeping a careful eye on your diet is generally a good idea, particularly as we get older, and it can also help to reduce your cancer risk. When you are overweight, you are at a higher risk of a range of different cancer types, including colon cancer and breast cancer. Regular physical activity will help you to cut that risk down, and you should think about the number of calories that you are taking on.
Think Carefully About Your Diet
On a similar note, you should be adjusting your diet as you get older to reduce your risk of colon and other cancers. Red meat has been linked to prostate cancer as well as colon cancer, and it can be a big contributing factor in issues such as heart disease. Processed meats have been identified as a major problem. That includes sausages, ham, bacon, salami, and other meat products that have been cured, smoked, or salted. Lean fresh white meat, such as chicken and fish, have not been shown to increase the risk of cancer.
Be Careful About Being In The Sun
Over the last eighteen months we have all spent too much time cooped up inside, but it is vitally important to remember that overexposure to sunlight without the right protection puts you at a real risk of skin cancer. This is one of the most common kinds of cancer, causing more than two deaths in the United States every hour, but you can reduce your risk by covering up and using plenty of sunscreen, even if the day is cloudy. Try to avoid being out in direct sunlight without protection around midday when the sun is at its strongest and remember that sunlamps and tanning beds are just as big of a risk.