It’s no secret that according to the American Cancer Society, cancer is on the rise. It’s become rare not to have someone close to you, or at least someone you know who has or has had cancer. Although we have not found a cure, researchers are constantly learning more about what you can do early on to help lower your chances. Young women especially need to be aware of prevention tips and early detection strategies to combat cancer preemptively. Here are eight things you can easily incorporate into your daily lifestyle to help prevent cancer, starting TODAY!
1. Snack on antioxidants
Ok, not literally. But choose healthy nutrient-rich foods that contain these cancer-fighting vitamins and minerals. According to the National Cancer Institute, there has been considerable evidence that antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals, and may slow or prevent the development of cancer. Get your plenty by eating foods rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. Think baby carrots, berries, and leafy greens—all of which are good for you inside and out. Pick one of these foods and have it for a snack this afternoon, and pick another to try tomorrow!
2. Protect your skin
Make a daily effort (such as wearing sunscreen everyday) to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. The FDA recommends no less than 15 SPF in either your sunscreen or in a daily moisturizer with it built in. We love Neutrogena Healthy Defense Moisturizer, which you can pick up at any drug store. And tanning booths? Just say no. Certain states have even started taxing tanning because of how dangerous the practice is. Trust us, your skin will thank you! Put a tube of sun block or moisturizer with SPF next to your bathroom sink NOW to remind you to put it on tomorrow AM (and every day after)!
3. Self breast exams
The American Cancer Society reports that most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests. Watch this video of actress Olivia Munn, who covers how to do a step-by-step self-breast exam.
An easy step-by-step guide can also be found on the American Cancer Society’s website. Now that you have some guidance, take a few minutes and do a self-exam in the shower tonight.
4. Go nuts for Brazil nuts
Ever had a brazil nut? According to the BBC, scientists from the University of Illinois believe that the mineral selenium, found in these nuts, may help protect some women from developing breast cancer. And another health bonus? Studies have also suggested that it can reduce the likelihood of other types of cancer, and some have linked it to a lowered chance of heart disease. Add Brazil nuts to your grocery list and pick some up next time you’re at your local health food store. Then chow down on a handful of them for an afternoon snack!
5. Drink green tea
Several clinical studies have shown that both green and black teas help protect against cancer, says the University of Maryland Cancer Center. Further proof lies in stats – and cancer rates tend to be low in countries such as Japan where people regularly consume green tea. Emerging clinical studies suggest that the polyphenols in tea, especially green tea, may play an important role in the prevention of cancer. Order a green tea instead of your usual coffee drink on your coffee run today.
6. Consider getting Gardasil
HC already gave you the 411 on Gardasil, and proves that HPV is totally preventable with the help of this new vaccine. HPV is one of the causes of cervical cancer, and this is one of the best ways to help prevent yourself from being one of the 12,000 women diagnosed annually with the disease. Call up your doctor or university health services today to make an appointment to get the vaccine.
7. Get moving
Studies show that cancer prevention and exercise tend to go hand in hand. Some have even shown a link between losing weight and lowering the risk of getting certain cancers such as breast cancer.The American Cancer Society suggests engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, above usual activities, on five or more days of the week; with 45 to 60 minutes of intentional physical activity being preferable. Why not hit the gym tonight before dinner?
8. Don’t smoke
This may sound obvious, but we saved the number one way to prevent cancer for last. Here’s a scary fact: smoking is linked to at least 15 different cancers, and accounts for some 30-percent of all cancer deaths, but one in five Americans still light up. If you are a smoker and need help quitting, your body will thank you in more ways than one. Check out these important tips, stat.
The American Cancer Society
The University of Maryland Medical Center
The New York Times
National Cancer Institute