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Simple Ways to Avoid "Deadly Cancer," Say Doctors

Learn five ways to help prevent cancer. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death and while there's risk factors you can't change like age and family history, there are several things you can do to help lower the chances of getting cancer. According to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, "Approximately 1,900,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and more than 609,000 will die. However, research shows that up to 50% of cancer cases and about 50% of cancer deaths are preventable with the knowledge we have today." Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies  who shares what to know about cancer and ways to help avoid it.  Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Cancer Risk Factors


Dr. Mitchell says, "According to, "In 2020, an estimated 1,806,590 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States, and 606,520 people will die from the disease". These staggering statistics cannot be ignored. According to the most recent data, approximately 39.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. While the exact causes of cancer are not yet fully understood, there are a number of risk factors that have been identified. These include smoking, exposure to sunlight, and certain genetic conditions. While there is no sure way to prevent cancer, there are a number of steps that people can take to reduce their risk. These include quitting smoking, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and living a healthy lifestyle. By increasing awareness and understanding of cancer, we can hopefully reduce the number of people who are affected by this disease."


Why Cancer Can Be Difficult to Diagnose


Dr. Mitchell explains, "There are many types of cancer, and each can present signs differently or in some cases not at all. This can make diagnosis difficult, particularly in the early stages when symptoms may be subtle. Some types of cancer are more aggressive than others, making them more challenging to treat. However, it is essential to remember that even the most challenging cancers can be beaten with early detection and treatment.

Cancers of the blood, such as leukemia, can be tough to diagnose because they do not always cause noticeable symptoms. The same is true for some types of brain cancer. By the time these cancers are diagnosed, they may have already progressed to an advanced stage. This can make treatment more difficult and significantly reduces the chances of survival.

Other types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer, can be challenging to diagnose because their symptoms are often mistaken for other conditions. Many women do not seek medical help until cancer has progressed to a late stage. While there have been significant advances in ovarian cancer treatment in recent years, early diagnosis remains the best chance for survival.

While some cancers are more challenging, it is essential to remember that all cancers can be treated effectively if caught early. Regular health check-ups and self-exams can help ensure that potential problems are detected and dealt with quickly. Even the most difficult cancers can be beaten with timely diagnosis and treatment."


Don't Smoke

no smoking sign

"There are many ways in which not smoking can reduce your chance of getting cancer," Dr. Mitchell says. "First and foremost, avoiding tobacco use altogether is the best way to lower your risk. If you do smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of cancer, as well as many other diseases. In addition, not smoking also protects those around you from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Breathing in even a small amount of secondhand smoke can increase your risk of developing cancer. Not smoking also helps to keep your body healthy and reduces your risk for other diseases. When you don't smoke, you give your body a chance to repair the damage that smoking has done. This means that your body is better able to fight off diseases, including cancer. So, there are many good reasons to avoid smoking and to quit if you do smoke. Your health will thank you for it!"


Eat a Healthy Diet

woman eating pizza in bed
Shutterstock / Doucefleur

While there is no surefire way to prevent cancer, research shows making healthy lifestyle choices can significantly reduce your risk. One important factor is what you eat. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help keep your body strong and boost your immune system. Staying away from processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of alcohol can also help to lower your risk. In addition to eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise are also important factors in reducing your chance of cancer. By making simple changes to your lifestyle, you can make a big difference in your health."


Get Regular Exercise

woman jogging uphill to burn double the calories, sunny day with city backdrop

Dr. Mitchell says, "Exercise has many well-documented benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, a stronger immune system, and a lower risk of obesity. However, exercise can also reduce your risk of developing cancer. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help to prevent the development of cancerous cells, and it can also promote the death of existing cancer cells. In addition, exercise helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can further reduce the risk of cancer. While more research is needed to determine exactly how exercise protects against cancer, there is no doubt that regular physical activity can have a profound impact on your overall health."


Protect Yourself From the Sun

woman smears face sunscreen at the beach for protection

Dr. Mitchell shares, "Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than three million cases diagnosed each year. While there are many different causes of skin cancer, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a major contributing factor. UV radiation can damage the DNA of skin cells, leading to the development of cancerous tumors. Fortunately, there are many simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. One of the most important is to protect yourself from the sun – this includes both avoiding sun exposure during peak hours and wearing clothing that covers your skin. Additionally, you should use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when spending time outdoors, and reapply it every two hours (or more if you're swimming or sweating). By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer."


Get Regular Screenings

middle-aged man chatting with doctor

Dr. Mitchell reminds us, "One of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer is to get regular screenings. Screenings can help to find cancer early, when it is most likely to be successfully treated. They can also help to find precancerous conditions, which are abnormal changes in the body that may lead to cancer. By getting regular screenings, you can help to ensure that any cancer is found and treated as early as possible. In addition, getting regular screenings can also help to educate you about your own risk factors for cancer. By knowing your risks, you can take steps to reduce them. For example, if you have a family history of cancer, you may be able to lower your risk by making lifestyle changes or taking medication. Regular screenings are an essential part of staying healthy and reducing your risk of cancer.

Early detection is key to successful treatment, so be sure to schedule regular screenings for cancer, especially if you have a family history of the disease. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of developing cancer and improve your overall health."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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