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Nine Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Help Prevent Cancer


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, causing one out of every four deaths. Over 1.4 million new cases will be diagnosed in 2008 alone.

fruits and veggies

Eating lots of fruits and veggies is a simple way to reduce your risk of cancer.

The causes of cancer are complex and varied, but there are many things you can do to reduce your risk significantly -- and all of them have to do with how you lead your life.

"Increasingly, researchers agree that poor diets and sedentary lifestyles are among the most important contributors to cancer risk," points out the American Cancer Society (ACS).

"Each year, about 550,000 Americans die of cancer; fully one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying excess weight," they continue.

Interestingly, aside from perhaps reducing cancer deaths by one-third, a new study found that leading a healthy lifestyle can actually influence cancer genes.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that dietary changes, exercise and stress reduction changed the expression of hundreds of genes in men with prostate cancer. In some cases, the healthy lifestyle positively affected genes that help fight cancer, while in others it turned off genes that promote cancer development.

sun exposure

While too much sun should be avoided, experts now agree that moderate sun exposure reduces your risk of cancer by optimizing your vitamin D levels.

"These findings are very exciting. They counter the genetic nihilism I hear so often. People say, 'It's all in my genes, there's nothing I can do,' but actually you can do quite a lot," said the study's lead author, Dr. Dean Ornish, president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

So, clearly, the power you have to reduce your risk of this common disease is immense.

What Can YOU Do to Prevent Cancer?

The top lifestyle changes include:

  1. Lose Weight: Obesity is a risk factor for many types of cancer, including breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney and others.

    "Excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more of the hormones estrogen and insulin, which can stimulate cancer growth," according to ACS.

  2. Quit Smoking: This is the major cause of lung cancer.

  3. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcohol in excess increases your risk of various cancers.

  4. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: They're loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients, such as phytoestrogens, plus they help keep you at a healthy weight.

  5. Limit Intake of Processed Meats and Trans Fats: Processed meats, like lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon and sausages, have been linked to prostate and other cancers.

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  1. Exercise Regularly. Exercise will reduce your risk of just about every type of cancer.

    "Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control, and can also reduce your risk by influencing hormone levels and your immune system," according to ACS.

  2. Avoid Exposure to Environmental Chemicals and Air Pollution. As air pollution inside the home is one of the fastest-growing causes of disease, leading health organizations now strongly recommend you use a high-quality air purifier in your home, such as the PIONAIR™ Air Treatment System.

    Meanwhile, "dirt" and the dust it turns into in your home is generally composed of about 20 "ingredients," and many of them are toxic.

    To properly rid your home of this dust and dirt, throw away the cotton mops, sponges, cotton rags and common household cleaning solutions like Pine-Sol. Recent studies have shown that conventional mops, sponges and rags are some of the most abundant sources of germs in your home, and they are far better at spreading dirt and dust around than removing it. Chemical cleaners, meanwhile, are primary sources of phenols that can cause respiratory, cardiac and other bodily damage.

    For the reasons above, hospitals, other health care organizations, top hotel chains and many other organizations have moved away from "conventional" cleaning tools and supplies and moved to using PerfectClean "ultramicrofiber" cleaning tools. The PerfectClean line of ultramicrofiber mops, dusters, towels and wipes is one of the absolute "must" products (just recently available to the public) that we urge everyone to consider, and you can read more about PerfectClean here ... and see the entire PerfectClean line (including the special introductory prices) here.

  3. Get the Proper Amount of Vitamin D. Maintaining healthy vitamin D levels is known to protect against cancer, according to the Vitamin D Council. Experts say 15-20 minutes of sunlight a day is an ideal amount for a light-skinned person to produce the right amount of vitamin D. If you have darker skin, you'll need to stay out significantly longer.

  4. Manage Your Stress. Positive emotions and reduction of stress support your immune system, which may contribute to slowing the progress of cancer and warding it off in the first place. To reduce stress in your life, see this past article, and if you need a little help getting started we highly recommend the Pure Relaxation: Guided Meditations for Body, Mind & Spirit CD by respected meditation expert Mary Maddux.

Recommended Reading

17 New Substances Added to the Most Dangerous Cancer-Causers List: The Six Keys to Help You Prevent Cancer

How NOT to Act Around Someone Who Has Cancer


Medline Plus June 17, 2008

American Cancer Society

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