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10 Healthy habits to start now

Do you feel helpless in the fight against preventing cancer? Don’t! Instead, focus your energy on achieving overall health. Empower yourself by learning about the healthy habits you can start now to help reduce your risk of cancer.

Woman doing breast exam

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) Web site, some cancers are caused by things people do or expose themselves to. Though these behaviors or habits don’t guarantee a cancer diagnosis, they can increase your chances. Be proactive in your personal health care by picking up these healthy habits today.

1Wear sunscreen

We all know the dangers of too much sun exposure, but are you practicing healthy habits to reduce your risk of skin cancer? Lower your chances by using sunscreen daily with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

Also, avoid using tanning beds or lamps, which are linked with melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer. Do your best to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its peak exposure. Lastly, protect your skin by wearing a hat, sunglasses and a shirt when you’re in the sun.

2Perform a breast self-exam

Get to know your girls! Women over the age of 20 should perform a monthly breast self-exam (BSE) in order to detect breast cancer at an early stage. Don’t be consumed with doing it right — this is simply a way for you to learn how your breasts normally look and feel. Be sure to report any breast changes (such as lumps, swelling, nipple pain or discharge) to your health professional immediately.

3Quit smoking

You know it’s bad for you, but quitting smoking is easier said than done. Here’s some sobering information from the ACS Web site: Many cancers might be prevented if people didn’t use tobacco. “Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body and accounts for some 30% of all cancer deaths,” the site states. Smoking can cause cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, bladder, kidneys and other organs. Make an effort to stay away from cigarettes, cigars, pipes, oral tobacco products and secondhand smoke in order to help reduce your risk of cancer.

4Reduce alcohol consumption

Just like smoking, drinking alcohol is also linked to a higher risk of certain types of cancer. Keep in mind that the type of drink doesn’t matter as much as the amount of alcohol drunk over time — which, according to the ACS Web site, appears to be the most important factor in raising your cancer risk.

If you do choose to drink, limit your intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

5Get regular screening examinations

When cancer is found early, it can be easier to treat since it’s smaller and hasn’t spread, so it’s important that adults schedule regular screening examinations. The ACS recommends talking to your doctor about which screening tests might be right for you.

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