It’s true there is no sure way to prevent cancer, but there are ways to reduce our risk. February is National Cancer Prevention Month and a terrific time to take a look at our lifestyle choices and schedule important cancer screenings with our health care provider.
Your cancer risk is affected by factors you can control, and some that you can not control. External factors, such as smoking tobacco, can be avoided. Internal factors, such a hormones or inherited cell mutations, are beyond our control.
The best way to offset your cancer risk is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow through with important cancer screenings recommended by your physician.
Cancer screenings help with early diagnosis and provide the best chance for a cure. The American Cancer Society recommends regular checkups with your health care provider, and age and gender appropriate screenings including:
- Breast cancer screening
- Cervical cancer screening (Pap Test)
- Prostate cancer screening
- Skin cancer screening
In addition, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends three research-based guidelines that may help you lower your risk of cancer:
- Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat.
- Be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes or more.
- Aim to be a healthy weight throughout life.
Now it’s even easier to make healthy habits part of every day: download the IU Health Healthy Habits app to track your progress.