World Cancer Day: Five Ways to Build a Healthy Habit
February 04, 2021
Over the course of a lifetime, one in three women will face a cancer diagnosis. For men, the odds are one in two. The good news is that at least 42% of common cancers may be preventable, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
In honor of World Cancer Day and National Cancer Prevention Month this February, Texas Oncology is encouraging patients, caregivers, family, and friends to join World Cancer Day’s 21 Days to Impact Challenge. By taking small but meaningful actions toward a healthier lifestyle for 21 days, you can create a positive habit that could decrease your cancer risk. Texas Oncology suggests five ways to get started.
Get Regular Cancer Screenings
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, two-thirds of Americans missed a scheduled cancer screening in 2020 due to concerns about COVID-19. Screening exams are the most effective way to detect cancer in its earliest stages – often before it has spread and when treatment is the most effective. Call your physician to schedule your annual screenings and reach out to friends and loved ones to ensure they do the same.
Managing your weight and eating a well-balanced diet full of powerful nutrients is critical to both preventing and fighting cancer. To bolster your body’s defenses against cancer and other illnesses, limit your intake of sugars, saturated fats, trans fats, and alcohol. Instead, opt for healthy foods like nutrient-packed produce, dark, leafy greens, and a variety of seasonal fruits and cruciferous vegetables.
Whether you prefer biking, gardening, walking, or yoga, it’s important to get active. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends healthy adults participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine can reduce your risk for several major cancers, as well as improve quality of life for those already fighting cancer. Make time to get moving every day.
Practice Sun Safety
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but it is also very preventable. The sun constantly produces ultraviolet (UV) rays that can penetrate clouds and affect your skin, even on overcast days or during cold weather. Limit exposure to UV rays by avoiding indoor tanning, applying sunscreen year-round, and wearing protective clothing that covers your skin.
Smoking-related deaths represent 80 percent of lung cancer mortalities, and half of lifetime smokers will die from some tobacco-related disease, according to the ACS. Research shows that smoking cessation is paramount to lung health, and smokers who quit are more likely to live healthier and longer lives, while greatly decreasing their lung cancer risk. If you smoke and don’t know how to quit, call the Quitline at 1-877-937-7848 for help and support.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean changing everything overnight. By starting with small, intentional changes in your daily routine, you can create lasting healthy habits. Start small, see what works for you, and commit to taking an active role in your health.