5 Ways You Can Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Every year, there are about 375,000 new cancer cases in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. While not every cancer can be prevented, you can make certain lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of being diagnosed. Here are some helpful tips that can help you live healthier and ultimately reduce your cancer risk.

1. Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes regularly can increase your risk of lung cancer significantly. 70% of all lung cancer cases in the UK are related to smoking. This is due to the toxic substances in tobacco that can cause cancer anywhere in your body. The most common one is lung cancer, but smoking is also known to be carcinogenic in the liver or pancreas.

It might be hard to quit smoking, but it’s worth it in the long term. Every smoked cigarette will increase your risk of getting diagnosed with cancer.

2. Healthy Diet

Another common lifestyle choice that relates to a higher cancer risk is an unhealthy, poorly balanced diet. Drinking alcohol is especially associated with different types of cancer, such as liver cancer. New studies also show that the regular consumption of processed meats can slightly increase your risk.

Make sure that you eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and are physically active. It might not always prevent you from developing cancer completely, but it reduces the risk by a lot.

3. Genetic Testing

If you’ve had cancer cases in your family, you might want to check whether you are at risk to develop it as well. Through hereditary cancer genetic testing, you can find out whether you inherited a faulty gene and are at increased risk. Genetic tests can detect cancer types such as breast or prostate cancer.

While some cancers are harder to prevent, breast cancer has a high chance of being treated when detected early. If you find out through genetic testing that you are at risk of breast cancer, you can monitor any changes and go to regular screenings.

4. Avoid Direct Sun

Especially during those long dark autumn nights, it’s tempting to go for a sunbath – either in a salon or on vacation. However, UV radiation can damage the DNA in your skin cells and consequently cause skin cancer. Try to avoid tanning salons and use sunscreens when you’re outside on sunny days. Experts recommend using sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30 to make sure your skin is protected.

5. Get Regular Checks

When was the last time you got your health checked? If you can’t remember the last time you visited your GP, then it’s probably time for an appointment. If you’re aged 40 to 74, you might be entitled to a free NHS health test. If you’re under 40 years, you will have to pay for it privately unless you have any concerns about your health. However, there are certain tests you can still get for free. For example, all women between 25 and 64 can have a regular free cervical screening to prevent cervical cancer. If you don’t know which tests you are entitled to and haven’t received a letter from your GP, you can give them a call to check in with them.

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