We all know it, cancer’s a scary thing. We also know that when it comes to cancer, most do everything they can in order to avoid thinking of it. Unfortunately, whether we’re actively engaged in anti cancer measures or not, cancer can rear its ugly head at any time. Because cancer is such an elusive disease, and if you’re concerned about cancer, here are the top 5 ways to actively lower your risk.
When I say ‘screen it’, I’m not referring to blocking anything out here. Quite the contrary actually. Taking the time to know when, what and how to effectively be screened for cancer is, quite remarkably, one of the most effective steps you can take to help lower your chances of being diagnosed, especially with a more progressive, late stage cancer. So what do I mean when talking ‘screening’? Have a look at your provincial or state screening programs, and ensure you’re following the guidelines. For example, men should be screened for prostate cancer as early as age 40, or starting as late as age 50. For women, being properly screened for cervical cancers can begin as early as the teenage years to early twenties, all depending on sexual activity and history. These 2 cancers, as well as colon and breast cancer have the potential to be highly avoidable, so by screening yourself properly, you may very well be significantly reducing your risk of ever having to deal with any degree or stage of cancer. Refer here for a general guideline for cancer screening in Canada .
“Refine” Your Diet
The word ‘refine’ is usually not a positive term when it comes to food or diet. My reference here however means that the more you refine your diet toward consuming healthy foods and habits, the greater opportunity you have to lower your overall risk of cancer. At this point in time, it’s well accepted that many cancers can be avoided by simply improving your dietary habits, as over 90% of cancers are lifestyle based and largely driven by lifestyle choices, including diet. Many foods have been scientifically evidenced as directly anti cancer , so it’s well understood that a multitude of health oriented foods can collaboratively impact your overall risk of cancer, whether preventatively, during or following an active cancer diagnosis.
Although well integrated into a naturopathic and wholistic approach, proper sleep is an independent factor that can directly contribute to your risk of cancer. At the basis of it all, poor sleep can be attributable to influential factors that will create a more susceptible environment for cancer to seed and grow. With proper sleep, however, the risk of many cancers (such as breast) can be directly lowered or improved. Sleep, as we all should understand, is one of the major cornerstones to overall health.
Sweep Up The Leftovers
We can’t change the past, but we can impact the future. If you’ve lived a less than desirable life in terms of health, although you can’t go back and change the decisions you’ve already made, you can positively improve your outcomes of health now. For example, maybe you spent your childhood (or adulthood) basking in the sun and have severely damaged your skin due to repeated sunburns. Although your skin cancer risk is now significantly increased, you can still intervene using diet to drastically protect yourself and lower your risk moving forward. The same goes for smoking; although you may have had a pack-a-day smoking habit over the past 3 decades, there are specific nutrients and integrative therapies that will significantly reduce your risk of cancer.
It’s been repeatedly shown that engaging in an integrative approach to health (conventional plus naturopathic medicine) creates the most optimal health outcomes. So, it only makes sense that you work with a naturopathic doctor to help support and guide your health. Whether it’s strictly preventative, treating a specific disease, or helping recover from an illness, evidence continues to show that naturopathic and integrative medicine can significantly improve your overall cancer risk profile. With the simple addition of herbs, nutrients, vitamins or diet and lifestyle supports, this approach to health will greatly improve both your short and long term outcomes, and will do so in such a reasonable, affordable, and health focused way.
There’s a lot of factors (literally hundreds) implicated in the growth and progression of cancer. Thankfully, the multitude of risk factors can be easily reduced into clear and simple categories. And whether you have cancer on the mind or not, you’re only doing yourself a massive favour by investing some effort and time into taking simple and necessary steps to directly reduce your risk.