In Singapore, about 39 people receive a cancer diagnosis every day, and every 1 in 4 people develop cancer in their lifetime. While genetics play a part in your cancer risk, experts believe that up to half of cancer cases are preventable.
It is known that your chances of developing cancer are influenced by your lifestyle choices. Studies by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute of Cancer Research found that maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity and good body mass can potentially reduce the incidence of cancer by 30 – 40%.
If you’re looking to take your health into your own hands, here are 6 lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of cancer.
. 1. It’s never too late to quit smoking
Tobacco use is the biggest avoidable risk factor for cancer. Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, of which 250 are found to be harmful, and more than 69 are known to cause cancer. Smoking is associated with numerous types of cancer including lung, mouth, larynx, throat, bladder, cervix, pancreas and kidney cancers.
About 90% of lung cancer is smoking-related. Even if you aren’t a smoker, exposure to secondhand smoke can also put you at risk for lung cancer and other respiratory conditions.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight is linked to increasing your risk of certain cancers, including colon and rectal cancer. Based on 2010 figures, 40% of the Singapore population is considered to be overweight, of which 10% are obese. A Singaporean study also found that across both genders, being overweight increases your chances of developing cancer by one and a half times.
Having a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Reduce your intake of high-calorie foods like refined sugar and animal products rich in fat.
3. Increase your physical activity
Being physically active delivers benefits to your overall health. There is compelling evidence which shows that physical activity reduces the risk of colon and breast cancer. Exercising can also help you to maintain a healthy weight, improve your immune system and reduce stress levels.