Not only is February Heart Health Month, it is also National Cancer Prevention Month. Did you know that obesity has been directly linked to some forms of cancer?
According to cancer.gov, obesity is associated with increased risks of several types of cancer, including cancers of the:
- Colon and rectum
- Breast (after menopause)
- Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
Obesity was linked to an estimated four percent of new cancer cases in men and seven percent of new cancer cases in women in 2007. Some types of cancer are more commonly the result of obesity, such as endometrial cancer and esophageal cancer. (Read more about the relationship between obesity and cancer on cancer.gov.)
The good news about cancer is that in many cases, prevention is within our control. By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce your risk of cancer. Here are a few tips to help lower your risk of developing cancer:
- Eat a plant-based diet. Limit your intake of red meat and avoid processed meat and foods. Eating processed foods can contribute to a number of health risks, including cancer. Focus on eating whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, and lean meats like chicken and fish, and limit your intake of processed foods. Most of your food should come from plant sources, but when you do eat meat, eat a small portion, and prepare it by baking, boiling, or poaching, instead of frying or charbroiling.1
- Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity account for 14 to 20 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S.1 Fat cells cause inflammation in the body that contributes to the growth of cancer cells. By reducing your body fat percentage, you can help lower your risk of not only dying from cancer, but from developing cancer in the first place. Staying within a healthy weight range is the number one recommendation for cancer risk reduction, according to the American Cancer Institute for Cancer Research.2
- Stay active. Moderate exercise can lower levels of inflammation in your body, thus reducing your risk of developing cancer. Adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week (five days or more). Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least five days a week.1
Eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising are three of the best things you can do to help prevent cancer, but there are other factors that may also put you at higher risk of cancer, including smoking, drinking alcohol, and stress.
400,000 Americans die every year from smoking, and 26,000 to 73,000 non-smokers die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco isn’t just linked to lung cancer; it is associated with at least 15 different cancers, and an estimated 30 percent of all cancer deaths.1 Like tobacco, alcohol is linked to a number of cancers, including cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast.2
While stress itself may not be a cause of cancer, people who have high levels of stress are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as eating junk food and avoiding physical activity.2
If you are overweight or obese and need help losing weight, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery. Contact the Nicholson Clinic today to learn more about your weight loss options and if you might be a candidate for bariatric surgery.
- American Cancer Society -http://www.cancer.org/myacs/newengland/areahighlights/seven-steps-to-reduce-your-cancer-risk
- WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/cancer/features/8-ways-to-lower-cancer-risk?page=2