Achievable steps we can all take toward cancer prevention
- Stop smoking. It is estimated that 85% of lung cancers are related to smoking, and can also increase the risk of developing bladder, cervix, colon, esophagus, kidney, larynx, mouth and throat, pancreas, stomach, nasal cavity, liver, leukemia and ovarian tumours. 1,2
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Studies have shown that drinking more than 2 serving per day for men, or 1 serving per day for women, can increase the likelihood of developing cancer. 2
- Exercise. You don’t need to go to the gym, however 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 5 days a week has been shown to reduce cancer incidence 3, 4, improve cancer outcomes 3, 4, and have a whole host of benefits on sleep, mood, and energy. 4 Take the stairs, park further away from your destination, take a dance class, join a walking group, the options are endless…
- Eat a variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables daily. Aim for at least 7 servings the size of your fist. 5, 6 Juicing and/or smoothies are a great addition to your routine and ensure you get these amazing vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants into your diet!
- Get enough sleep, especially between the hours of 11pm and 5am when your natural circadian rhythm is slowing down and moving into “rest and digest and repair” mode. 7,8
- Take a multivitamin. Studies are now showing that simply taking a daily multivitamin can reduce your risk of developing cancer, especially if it contains vitamin D. 9
- Take time to relax and reflect. Do activities that you enjoy, stress reduction improves wellbeing no matter where you are at in your personal health journey. Yoga, tai chi, dancing, art, reading, prayer, being in nature – anything that brings you a sense of peace and calm.
- Create a healthy and full social environment. People with a strong social support system have less stress; the effects of love and support are immeasurable and invaluable.
BUT REMEMBER, the vast majority of cancers are curable if found early (prior to spreading).
- BC Cancer Agency www.bccancer.bc.ca
- Williams and Horm. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (1977) 58 (3): 525-547. doi: 10.1093/jnci/58.3.525
Steindorf, Leitzmann, Friedenreich. Exercise, Energy Balance, and Cancer. Volume 6, 2013
- Lemanne, Cassileth, and Gubili. ONCOLOGY. Vol. 27 No. 6 June 18, 2013
Mosby et al. Nutrition in adult and childhood cancer: role of carcinogens and anti-carcinogens. Anticancer Res. 2012 Oct;32(10):4171-92.
- Boeing et al. Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Sep;51(6):637-63. doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0380-y.
- Kelleher FC1, Rao A, Maguire A. Circadian molecular clocks and cancer. Cancer Lett. 2014 Jan 1;342(1):9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.09.040. Epub 2013 Oct 4.
- Smith L, Tanigawa T, Takahashi M, et al. Shiftwork locus of control, situational and behavioural effects on sleepiness and fatigue in shiftworkers. Ind Health. 2005;43(1): 151-170
- Huang et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement Use To Prevent Cancer and Chronic Disease in Adults: A Systematic Review for a National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2006 Sep;145(5):372-385.
- Moukayed M1, Grant WB. Molecular link between vitamin D and cancer prevention. Nutrients. 2013 Sep 30;5(10):3993-4021. doi: 10.3390/nu5103993.
- Sklar and Anisman. Stress and cancer. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 89(3), May 1981, 369-406. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.89.3.369
Lutgendorf and Sood. Biobehavioral Factors and Cancer Progression: Physiological Pathways and Mechanisms. Psychosomatic Medicine November-December 2011 vol. 73 no. 9 724-730