February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center (MAA) is working in conjunction with cancer patients, advocates, specialists, clinics, and others around the country and the world to inform people about how they can prevent cancer.
While the primary focus of the MAA Center is awareness around mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure, we also collaborate with many different organizations and individuals to promote awareness, prevention, and treatment of other types of cancer as well. With that in mind, we wanted to share some insights about some things you can do to prevent a variety of cancers.
We don’t want to tell anyone how to live their lives. What we will say, however, is that if you want to live long, full lives, here are some things you can do to reach that goal.
Cut the Tobacco
Nearly a quarter of all cancer-related deaths are caused by tobacco use. And it’s not just lung cancer, but other cancers that can be affected as well. It’s the single most important thing you can do to reduce risk of developing the disease. Period.
Eat More Vegetables
Eating well is important to preventing cancer, and one way to do that is to add cruciferous vegetables to your diet. These include dark, leafy greens (arugula, bok choy, cabbage, collards, kale, mustard greens, watercress), as well as vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radishes, and turnips, among others.
While you’re at it, upping your intake of certain aromatics and spices like garlic, ginger, onions, and turmeric can help reduce inflammation and even prevent certain types of cancer. There are a lot of great recipes that incorporate these ingredients, from salads to shakes and beyond, so there’s no excuse to avoid them.
Get Your Heart Pumping
Whether you’re overweight or not, your musculoskeletal system and immune system will benefit greatly from some cardio exercise. Note that “cardio” does not have to be intense or prolonged – just enough to get your heartrate up for a little while.
For the best benefits, cardiologists recommend 2.5 hours of cardio exercise per week, but you can choose how to portion it out. Common increments include:
- 22 minutes per day over 7 days
- 30 minutes per day over 5 days
- 50 minutes per day over 3 days
If you’re eating more vegetables and getting your heart pumping on a steady basis, then hopefully you’re already moving in the right direction. You may just need to make a few extra little tweaks to shed those cancer-risky pounds. Look for ways to cut back on hidden fat and sugar, such as in salad dressing or drinks – even “healthy” ones like sports drinks.
Also, don’t be alarmed if you’re not losing weight as fast as you hoped. As long as you’re moving in the right direction, you’re improving. Preventing cancer is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not participating in a crash diet that leaves you feeling worse and is likely to fail in the long run.
More Tips Coming Soon
These lifestyle factors are not the only ways that you can reduce your risk of developing cancer. Watch our blog for information about environmental factors that can contribute to cancer, and what you can do to stay safe in your home, at the office, and elsewhere.
Want to get involved in National Cancer Prevention Month? Here are some ways you can let people know how to stop cancer before it even starts:
- Share this article with family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances
- Join MAA Center on February 4 for World Cancer Day/Kiss Cancer Goodbye Day – we’ll be tweeting cancer prevention information and sharing ideas on our Facebook page.
- Author an article on ways to prevent cancer. (Feel free to use this post as a source!)
- Donate time or money to organizations that do cancer research, like the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation or the American Cancer Society.
Thank you for spreading the word about cancer awareness – you’re helping to save lives!