11 ways to reduce cancer risk

Each year, millions of new cases of cancer are diagnosed across the globe. Although there is no definitive cause for many of the cancers out there, certain lifestyle choices put a person at a greater risk for cancer. By making a few simple changes, that risk can be reduced.

1. Eat steamed broccoli

Broccoli is one of the superfoods purported to help reduce cancer risk. However, microwaving or overcooking broccoli can destroy up to 97 percent of broccoli’s cancer-preventing flavanoids. Therefore, eat broccoli raw or lightly steam it to retain the most nutrients.

2. Load up on garlic

Garlic might contribute to bad breath, but the side effect may be worth it. Garlic contains sulfur that can help fend off cancer by stimulating the body’s natural immune system.

3. Enjoy orange foods

Sweet potatoes, carrots and cantaloupe contain carotinoids, which can reduce risk of cancer.

4. Eat some blueberries

Blueberries top the list for antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can contribute to cancer.

5. Drink plenty ?of water

The body needs water to stay healthy and flush out contaminants. Therefore, enjoy eight glasses per day.

6. Get a little sunlight

Not only does sunlight boost mood, which can reduce stress and keep the body in top form, the body receives most of its vitamin D from the sun. Minimal sun exposure will increase vitamin D in the body. Too little vitamin D can actually contribute to some cancers.

7. Reduce animal?fat intake

Cut down on the amount of high-fat dairy and meat products consumed.

8. Walk 30 minutes a day

Even moderate exercise can reduce cancer risk.

9. Reduce exposure ?to chemicals

Let those dandelions sprout in the lawn, skip dry cleaning clothes and use natural items around the house for cleaning. This reduces a person’s exposure to potentially toxic chemicals that may contribute to cancer.

10. Enjoy grapes

Grapes contain the cancer-fighting compound resveratrol, which is found in wine. However, grapes do not offer the potentially negative consequences of alcohol consumption.

11. Choose organic whenever possible

Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, making them better for the body.

Early detection

With respect to cancer, survival almost always depends on detection. In general, the earlier cancer is detected, the more likely a person is to survive.

Such is the case with breast cancer. When breast cancer is detected in its earliest stage (stage 0), the rate of recovery is 100 percent. However, when breast cancer is not detected until its later stages, the survival rate is less than 20 percent.

Such a reality underlies the importance of early detection. While an abnormality in the breast often shows up on a mammogram, women can also look and feel for additional symptoms as well. According to the American Cancer Society, the following unusual changes in the breast could be indicative of breast cancer, and women who notice any of these symptoms should report them to their physician immediately and schedule a screening.

• a lump in the underarm area

• nipple discharge other than breast milk

• persistent pains in the breast

• skin irritation or dimpling

• swelling of the breast, be it all or part of the breast

• redness of the nipple or breast skin

• scaliness of the nipple or breast skin

• thickening of the nipple or breast skin

For more information on breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society Web site at www.cancer.org.

Did you know?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells that have developed abnormally. Cancerous cells are also known as malignant cells. While many cancers have symptoms in the area where malignant cells, or tumors, are present, some cancers do not present any noticeable symptoms at all until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Cancer treatment generally depends on the stage of the disease. Earlier stages may result in surgery to remove growths or cells. Later stages may require chemotherapy or radiation treatment to kill the cancer cells.

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