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5 Ways You Can Prevent Almost Every Cancer

Learn five ways to reduce the risk of cancer. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease, but despite the grim statistics, it's no longer a death sentence in many cases as a result of breakthroughs in treatments and early detection. There's more than 100 different types of cancer and while there's no surefire way to prevent the disease, there are lifestyle choices and measures to take to help greatly reduce the risk. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary's Hospital who shares five ways to help lower the chances of cancer. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


How Advancements in Treatment and Technology Help with Cancer Detection and Prevention

risk of cancer

Dr. Curry-Winchell tells us, "Early detection can save your life! Taking advantage of technology such as cancer screenings such as the Multi-Cancer Early Detection Test could help you find cancer early, potentially decreasing your risks of dying from it. As for treatment, there are now more options available. It's more common to find medications that target cancer directly. In the past, treatment would sometimes include medication that would harm non-cancerous (healthy) cells. Why is this a game changer in the treatment of cancer? Because the healthy cells help you fight off other infections — leading to less health complications that could exacerbate or disrupt your health status while receiving treatment."


Know Your Family History

A woman with cancer is sitting in a wheelchair

Dr. Curry-Winchell asks, "Does Cancer Run in Your Family? If the answer is "yes", share this information with your healthcare provider. If someone in your family has had cancer you could be at risk for developing it. A provider will discuss your eligibility for cancer screenings and tests." 


Know Your Statistics

Woman Receiving Radiation Therapy Treatments for Breast Cancer

Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "A disproportionate rate of certain cancers are seen in specific populations. It's important to know your risks for the disease and why. This is often due to the lack of access to care, limited health literacy, and mistrust in the healthcare system. Remember you are always your best advocate for your health!"


Chill on the Booze

Sad woman drinking wine at kitchen.

"Drinking alcohol in moderation or avoiding it all together can decrease your risks," Dr. Curry-Winchell says. "When you drink an alcoholic beverage your risk for developing cancer increases in many ways. It can affect hormones such as estrogen responsible for cell growth (the more growth the increased chance of errors within a cell), and your ability to absorb nutrients (A, D, E K vitamins) that are protective against cancer. Alcohol contains a substance called (ethanol) which breaks down to the carcinogen (a substance that has a potential to cause cancer)."


Add More Natural Foods

eat fiber foods

Dr. Curry-Winchell states, "The saying "you are what you eat," – there's some truth to that! Certain foods can lower your risks for developing cancer. Try to avoid and or decrease processed meats (sausage and bacon) and foods with high amounts of sugar and carbs often found in baked goods." 


Stop Smoking

Hand stubbed out cigarette in a transparent ashtray on wooden table

Dr. Curry-Winchell reminds us, "Smoking introduces harmful chemicals into your lungs ultimately damaging the cells (including those protective against cancer) inside your body. As you could imagine, smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer."

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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