April is Cancer Control Month. This is a perfect time to think about what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.
The statistics in the U.S. are certainly alarming, with 50 percent of men at risk of developing cancer compared to 33 percent of women.
You can lower those statistics with early detection – which can prevent almost 50 percent of the common cancers, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Ask your doctor what tests and screening you should undergo.
Although consulting with your doctor regularly is certainly important, there are many things you can do on your own to lower your risk of getting cancer. Unfortunately, lifestyle changes alone aren’t always enough to stop every case of cancer, but with every healthy choice you make, you’re decreasing your risk. Isn’t that worth it?
Experts estimate that at least one third of all adult cancer cases are related to your lifestyle, which is totally within your control! Nutritional guidelines for preventing heart disease and diabetes are often very similar to the guidelines for preventing cancer. Think of it this way: you can eat your way to lowering your chances of getting cancer.
Here are five quick tips to get you started down that healthy road:
Maintain a healthy weight: Watch out for those foods with added sugars and fats that provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. Put that doughnut down! If you must eat something sweet, reach for fruit or low-fat yogurt instead.
Add more veggies, fruits, whole grains, and legumes: Take half of your dinner plate and fill it up with fruits and vegetables! You can also pick whole grain bread over white bread to cut down on the sugar.
Cut down your meat portions: Seafood like salmon is loaded with protein. You can also look for lean meat, legumes, eggs, and nuts.
Cut down the alcohol: Men should have two drinks maximum per day, while women should have just one.
Cut down the salt: Learn how much sodium is in a product by reading the labels. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mgs of sodium per day.
Still stumped on what to eat? Consult a nutritionist – preventative visits to nutritionists are often covered by health care and Medicare. In addition to eating well, it’s important that you quit smoking. A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that smokers who cut back from about 20 cigarettes per day to less than 10 per day reduced their risk of getting lung cancer by 27%! And don’t stop there – consider quitting entirely if you can.
Physical activity is also important. Even if you won’t be running marathons anytime soon, going for a daily walk around the neighborhood, taking a weekly yoga class, or going swimming in your community pool this summer can all be helpful. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise per day can cut your risk of many common cancers by 30% to 50%!
Livanta cares! For more information about lowering your risk of cancer through lifestyle change, check out WebMD.
Livanta is a Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO). BFCC-QIOs are responsible for medical case review, which supports the rights of people on Medicare. These rights include protecting you when you get health care and making sure you get the health care services the law says you can get. BFCC-QIOs can help you if you have a concern about the care you have been receiving or if you want to request a review (appeal) of your discharge from a health care facility. For more information, go to www.livantaqio.com.