Cancer risk is a term used to describe the probability of an individual developing cancer or the probability of cancer returning in the body of a patient who has previously had it. An increased risk factor is anything that increases the chance of cancer development. Some individuals with multiple risk factors will never have cancer, while some with no known risk factors will develop cancer.
Some cancer risk factors are not things an individual can control, such as genetic predisposition, gender, and age. Other cancer risk factors are within an individual's control, such as lifestyle choices and certain behaviors. An individual who has an understanding of factors that increase their risk of developing cancer will have a greater chance of early detection. There are also a handful of ways individuals can help lower their risk of developing cancer.
Eat A Healthy And Balanced Diet
An individual can reduce their risk of developing cancer if they eat a healthy and balanced diet. Someone who consumes a diet high in sugars, fats, and processed meats is a greater risk of developing cancer than an individual who consumes healthier alternatives. The excessive consumption of saturated fat is proven to increase an individual's risk of developing prostate and colon cancer. To lower the risk of cancer, individuals should aim to consume a minimum of two and a half cups of vegetables and fruit every day.
An individual can reduce their risk of developing cancer by limiting their intake of beef, pork, lamb, bacon, luncheon meats, sausage, and hot dogs. Consuming cereals, bread, and pasta produced from whole grains rather than refined grains can help lower the risk of cancer. Choosing brown rice over white rice and limiting the intake of sugary foods and beverages can also help lower the risk of developing cancer. In addition, eating fish two times a week has been proven to reduce an individual's risk of developing prostate cancer.
Get Regular Exercise
An individual can lower their chance of developing cancer if they get regular exercise. This recommendation applies to individuals of all shapes and sizes, not just those are considered obese or overweight. Approximately five percent of all cancer deaths are attributed to a lack of regular physical activity. A lack of physical activity is known to increase the risk of the development of colon, breast, uterine, esophageal, liver, kidney, stomach, lung, and blood cancer. The mechanism behind this is thought to be associated with lower insulin and estrogen levels.
It is recommended that the average adult should get a minimum of 150 minutes of activity at a moderate level intensity each week. Alternatively, seventy-five minutes of activity at a vigorous level per week can help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers. Physical activities that fit into these categories include walking, running, swimming, and cycling. An individual's physical activity should be spread out somewhat evenly throughout the week if possible.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
A way for an individual to lower their risk of cancer is to maintain a healthy weight or body mass index. Obese individuals have a greater risk of developing several types of cancers than the risk of individuals who are of a healthy weight. These cancers include those of the breast, endometrium, esophagus, colon, rectum, kidney, gallbladder, liver, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, ovaries, prostate, and pancreas. Approximately one-third of all deaths that occur due to cancer are associated with obesity and diet.
An increase in fat deposits around an individual's midsection is also closely correlated with an increased risk of developing cancer. While the mechanisms behind this increased risk of cancer are not clear, they are known to be associated with inflammation, the function of the immune system, hormone levels, activity of insulin-like growth factor-1, and activity of sex hormone-binding globulin. An individual who has a body mass index in the overweight or obese category should reduce their intake of daily calories and burn more calories through regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
Wear Sunscreen And Appropriate Clothing
An individual who wears sunscreen and appropriate clothing can lower their risk of developing cancer. Repeated skin exposure to sunlight and its ultraviolet radiation increases an individual's risk of developing deadly melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Around two percent of all deaths from cancer are associated with excessive exposure to the sun. An individual can reduce their risk of developing cancer if they limit the time spent in the sun between the daytime hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Individuals must use a minimum of SPF 50 water-resistant sunscreen on all areas of the body not protected by proper clothing when going out in the sun during the daylight hours. Sunscreen should be reapplied every hour to unprotected areas of the skin. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses help protect the skin and eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays, as melanoma can also develop in the eyes. Sunscreen and protective clothing should be used even on days when it is cloudy, as the clouds do not always influence the ultraviolet index.
Avoid Smoking And Excessive Alcohol Consumption
An individual can avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption to reduce their risk of developing cancer. An individual's risk of developing cancer increases with the volume of alcohol they consume. Certain kinds of cancer have been implicated in heavy drinkers, including mouth, voice box, liver, rectal, breast, throat, esophagus, and colon cancer. The average adult male should limit their alcohol consumption to a maximum of two servings a day, while the average female should limit their alcohol consumption to one serving a day. A serving of alcohol is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, twelve ounces of beer, and five ounces of wine.
Additionally, the avoidance of tobacco can help an individual reduce their risk of developing certain types of cancer including liver, rectum, oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, bladder, cervix, colon, lung, throat, larynx, pancreas, kidney, and blood cancers. Approximately one-third of all deaths that occur due to cancer are associated with tobacco use, and eighty percent of deaths from lung cancer is caused by tobacco use.