Prevention Pathway: The Way to Reduced Cancer Risk

The good news: Fewer people are diagnosed with cancer every year and for those who are, survival

Becky Eggleston, RN OCN, is one of four oncology nurses with the U-M Cancer

Becky Eggleston, RN OCN, is one of four oncology nurses with the U-M Cancer

rates are increasing, according to the NCI Cancer Trends.

The less-good news: More than 1.6 million people will still be diagnosed with cancer this year. Cancer can be caused by multiple factors, and typically takes years to develop.

You can do something about your cancer risk, though. Follow these cancer prevention pathways that are proven to reduce your risk for cancer and improve your overall health:

Pathway #1

Avoid tobacco. Smoking causes nearly 30% of all deaths from cancer.

Sidestep secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains as many as 250 chemicals (including formaldehyde, cyanide and ammonia) that are known to be toxic and cancer-causing agents.

Pathway #2

Practice sun protection. Using a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen daily, wearing protective clothing and a hat, and seeking shade when outside for more than 1 hour can significantly reduce your risk for skin cancer by as much as 50%.

Steer clear of indoor tanning – including tanning beds, tanning booths and sun lamps — for the same reason. Indoor tanners are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. There really is no such thing as a “safe tan.”

Pathway #3

Eat your fruits and veggies. A plant-based diet filling at least two-thirds of your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can reduce your risk for developing cancer.

An added bonus:  a diet high in fruits and vegetables also reduces calorie intake and controls weight, which in turn decreases the risk for developing other serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Pathway #4

Get moving! Adults who embrace an active physical lifestyle by getting at least 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 or more days of the week can significantly reduce their risk for developing breast, colon and other cancers.

Pathway #5

Lessen your exposure to chemicals like pesticides used to protect food crops by thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating. And taking measures to protect yourself (or avoid) toxic substances like asbestos, benzene or formaldehyde at home and work can reduce your risk for developing cancers related to these chemicals.

While it’s true that not all cancer can be prevented, reducing your risk for cancer by following these tips will put you on the path to a healthier life!

Learn more:

University of Michigan Prevention and Risk Assessment information

Healthy Lifestyle Changes Women Should Consider

NCI Cancer Prevention

ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention