Smart choices can reduce risk of cancer

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Cancer does not discriminate, afflicting men, women and children regardless of their race, ethnicity or gender. While there’s no way you can fully protect yourself from cancer, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Some of the most effective ways to lower your cancer risk is to make certain lifestyle choices. Many of these choices will not only reduce your risk of developing cancer but also improve your overall quality of life.

• Avoid tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer. The majority of lung cancer cases are caused by cigarette smoking, and male smokers are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than men who don’t smoke. Women who smoke are 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer than their nonsmoking counterparts

• Don’t allow others to smoke around you. Even people who don’t smoke might be at a significant risk of developing cancer if they allow others to smoke around them. Exposure to secondhand smoke at home or at work increases your risk by to 20 to 30 percent, so don’t allow others to smoke in your presence.

• Avoid heavy alcohol consumption. The World Health Organization notes that studies have found regular alcohol consumption increases a person’s risk of developing mouth, voice box and throat cancers. In 2007, WHO researchers published a study that found daily consumption of roughly 50 grams, or less than two ounces, of alcohol doubles or triples a person’s risk of the aforementioned cancers compared with the risk in nondrinkers.

• Protect your skin. Though lung cancer might be the most deadly cancer, skin cancer is among the most prevalent. Men, women and children who protect their skin from the sun when spending time outdoors can drastically reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.

Though anyone can develop cancer, there are many choices people can make that can drastically reduce their risk of joining the millions of people who receive a cancer diagnosis each year.

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