Cut Your Cancer Risk

6 Apr

A sobering statistic:  Half of all men and a third of women will get one of the 100-plus forms of cancer in their lifetimes. Although just the word “cancer” can give us the shivers, the truth is that we are making step-by-step progress against many forms of the disease. But the best way to beat cancer is not to get it in the first place. Here are 10 ways to reduce your risk.

Grab some grapes: Resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins, helps prevent cancer by killing damaged cells before they replicate, according to a University of Colorado study.

Cut the cola: A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows that people who drank two or more sugar-soft drinks a week are 87 percent likely to get pancreatic cancer.

Dress in red and blue: Protecting your skin from harmful UV exposure can be a chore, but simply choosing red and blue clothing over lighter colors such as white and yellow can help protect the areas not covered by sunscreen, a Spanish study finds. Also, wear a broad-brimmed hat.

Marinate your meat: Add rosemary and thyme to your favorite marinade at least an hour before tossing your meat on the grill. These antioxidant-rich herbs can cut the cancer risk posed by charring your meat by as much as 87 percent. That’s the word from Kansas State University researchers.

Ban the bottle: Plastic bottles aren’t great for the environment, both outside and inside your body. One study found that about  a third of bottled water brands contained bacterial or chemical contaminants, including carcinogens in levels exceeding state or industry standards. Drink tap or filtered water.

Watch for weird symptoms:  Your voice sounds different, your breasts are itchy, your waistband is tight.

Get moving: If you need more motivation to be active, one study of postmenopausal women shows that regular exercise can cut breast cancer risk by at least 10 percent. Another concludes that rigorous exercise (such as hiking or biking) can reduce colon cancer risk by up to 40 percent.

Can the BPA: The lining that coats almost 75 percent of cans of vegetables and other foods contains a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) which studies report increases the risk of cancer. In one study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who ate one serving a day of canned soup for five days had a  1,000 percent increase in BPA in their urine, compared to those who consumed fresh soup.

Go nuts: Brazil nuts are full of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women. Researchers think selenium protects cells from free radical damage, boosts immunity and suppresses the formation of blood vessels that nourish tumors.

Schedule screenings: Colon cancer: Ninety percent of cases are found in people 50 or older    Breast cancer: Most breast cancers (79 percent) occur in women over 50  Lung cancer:  The median age for getting this cancer is in the mid 60s.   Prostate cancer:  About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men 65 or older. Stomach cancer:  This occurs most frequently in the late 60s through 80s.

Source: AARP magazine October/November 2015

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