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What Are the Best Methods To Prevent Cancer?

Cancer can be caused by many factors including genetics, environment and lifestyle. We cannot guarantee that any particular individual will not get cancer. But, there are suggestions health care providers can make to help prevent cancer or to help prevent a second cancer.

A few suggestions are provided below:

1. There is a clear link between smoking and lung cancer. Avoid smoking but also avoid being in smoke-filled places. You can develop lung cancer from excessive exposure to smoke.

2. Either drink alcohol in moderation or do not drink alcohol at all. Excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to an increase in risk of some cancers like in the mouth and throat. Also, excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to a disease called cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver can increase your chances for liver cancer.

3. Avoid exposure to the sun and ultraviolet light. This can cause many types of skin cancers. This does not mean never go outside. But, during peak sun times (like 9 AM-4 PM) wear sunscreen protection (SPF 30 or greater), wear a hat, sunglasses, and long sleeves. If you live in a climate that is sunny and warm all year it is best to put sunscreen on everyday after you shower or bathe and then again when you go out in the sun. There is a cumulative effect of the sunscreen which means if you apply it every day you have better protection. Also, many people now are paying money to go to "tanning salons." Avoid tanning beds as they increase your chance of skin cancers. If you absolutely are going to use a tanning bed then apply sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater).

4. Diet may play an important role in your risk for cancer. A high fat diet can make individuals at greater risk for colon or possibly breast cancer. A high calorie diet can lead to obesity and for women an increase in risk of endometrial or breast cancer. Try to avoid high fat and high calorie diets. Ask a dietician or nutritionist to evaluate your current diet and help you adjust to it.

5. There are also certain dietary components that can help prevent cancer. Making sure you get adequate vitamin A or Beta carotene can help decrease the risk of lung cancer and some cancers of the mouth. Making sure you have adequate vitamin C in your diet may help prevent stomach cancer. Fiber is a very important part of your diet and can help decrease the risk of colon cancer. Lastly, vegetables that are called "cruciferous" can help prevent cancers. Cruciferous vegetables include brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collars, kale and turnips.
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