Preventing Cancer - Carolina Country

Preventing Cancer

These 10 steps can help reduce risk


Preventing Cancer

Nearly four out of 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and it remains the second-leading cause of death for Americans. Research shows that diet, activity levels and weight play a critical role in cancer prevention.

“Making changes in what you eat, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight have strong and clear links to your risk for cancer,” says Alice Bender, MS, RDN and director of nutrition programs at American Institute for Cancer Research. “We know from decades of research and a thorough review of the science that there are simple things we can all do to reduce our risk.”

To live a cancer-preventive lifestyle, consider taking these 10 steps recommended by the institute:

  • Be a healthy weight. Higher body fat can be a cause of many cancers. Try to stay at a healthy weight and avoid weight gain as you get older.
  • Be physically active. Incorporate moderate physical activity into your daily life through steps like walking more and sitting less.
  • Eat a diet rich in whole grains, veggies, fruits and beans. Make these foods a major part of your diet.
  • Limit consumption of “fast foods” and other processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars. Cut down on processed foods to help control calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit consumption of red and processed meat. Eat no more than three portions of red meat per week, and little—if any—processed meat.
  • Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. Don’t drink sugar-sweetened drinks, which contribute to weight gain. Choose water instead, when possible.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. For preventing cancer, it’s best not to drink alcohol.
  • Do not use supplements for cancer prevention. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.
  • For mothers, breastfeed your baby, if you can. Breastfeeding is good for both mother and baby.
  • Refraining from smoking, avoiding other exposure to tobacco and limiting sun exposure are also important in reducing cancer risk.

After a cancer diagnosis, follow these recommendations, if you can. Cancer survivors are encouraged to continue following these guidelines.

Online lifestyle test

Cancer Health Check is a free, online tool that shows people how their lifestyle stacks up against known cancer risks and recommends changes that can improve health. Its lifestyle test takes roughly 5 minutes (you’ll need to provide your email). You can take the test at

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