Despite huge advances in medicine, cancer still remains one of the most universally feared illnesses, striking men and women, young and old. Whilst the recovery rates from many cancers is good if caught early, it still remains a potentially deadly illness that no one wants to get. But can you reduce the risk of getting cancer?
Scientific advances in the last thirty years have shown that some habits are more likely to raise your risk of getting cancer than others. The most well known contributing factor to cancer is smoking, and successive governments have worked to reduce the number of people who smoke and stop so many young people from taking it up. However there are other things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting cancer. Many of them are very simple and easy to implement.
Like smoking, drinking excessive alcohol can be a contributing factor to getting cancer. Government guidelines suggest one standard drink a day fine – of course, sometimes you may want to have a bit more, and probably most days you won’t have anything alcoholic to drink at all, however maintaining a sensible balance is a good idea, particularly if you also smoke. Carrying excess weight can also be a contributing factor – fat tissue produces hormones and insulin, and they in turn increase the risk of getting cancer.
Another well known factor is the sun, or more specifically UV radiation from the sun or sun beds. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV rays, however this can be fairly easily remedied by using high factor sun cream or just simply covering up and not going out in hot sun. Whilst we get vitamin D from the sun, it does need to be done safely, be mindful of the time you spend exposed.
Reducing your cancer risk though isn’t all about cutting things out – increasing the amount of exercise you take is an easy and enjoyable way to help your health. Combined with improving your diet, these lifestyle changes can make a big difference. They can be particularly useful if you are also trying to lose weight and maybe give up smoking and reduce your drinking.
Whilst many risk factors can be simply reduced, eliminated or avoided by a few simple lifestyle changes, if you are employed in an industry where the risks are inherent, it is less easy to avoid them. Materials such as asbestos and industrial chemicals carry more risk, however for most of the population, contact with them is minimal and therefore so is the risk.
Hopefully, by making some simple changes, you can reduce the risk of cancer – however should you still be unfortunate enough to get cancer, you can ensure you receive excellent care and support by taking out cancer insurance. This will also give you access to additional preventative measures, such as mammograms and tests, such you feel you are at higher risk of getting cancer. Whilst nothing is certain, these policies at least give you some reassurance.