Protect Yourself from 3 Common Cancers
If you’re concerned about your risk for breast, lung, or prostate cancer, these lifestyle changes may help
Breast, lung, and prostate cancer are among the most common types of cancer. In 2023, it's estimated that more than 800,000 Americans will be diagnosed with one of these three cancers. And, though not all cancers can be prevented, many may be avoidable.
There's good evidence that simple lifestyle behaviors can lower your overall cancer risk, including your risk for lung, breast, and prostate cancers. To protect your health:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern. Choose foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, which are high in nutrients. Fill your plate with a variety of colors each day. Different colored plants offer different vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may help prevent cancer. Try to limit your intake of red and processed meats, sugary drinks, highly processed foods, and refined grains too.
- Get regular exercise. Strive for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. Start small and build up slowly if you're new to exercise: You'll get 30 minutes of daily activity by taking a 15-minute walk in the morning and again after dinner.
- Reach or maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight raises your cancer risk. You can work toward a healthy weight or avoid weight gain by making healthy food choices and being active every day.
- Get regular screenings. Screening won't prevent breast, lung, or prostate cancer. But it can catch these cancers earlier, when they're easier to treat. Your screening needs may depend on your individual cancer risk factors. Talk with your doctor to decide on the screening tests and frequencies that are right for you.
If you're concerned about a particular type of cancer, some specific actions may lower your risk even more. Here’s what to know:
- Breast cancer. Limit or avoid alcohol. Even one drink per day increases breast cancer risk by 7% to 10%. And consuming two alcoholic drinks per day raises the risk by 20%.
- Prostate cancer. Talk with your doctor about your calcium and dairy intake. Getting too much of the mineral, either through supplements or through foods like milk or cheese, may raise prostate cancer risk.
- Lung cancer. If you smoke, quit. Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer, causing about 80% of lung cancer deaths. If you don't smoke, avoid secondhand smoke.
Watch out for other causes of lung cancer, like exposure to certain chemicals, too. Have your home tested and treated for radon, if needed, as high amounts can sometimes occur in basements, and avoid exposure to cancer-causing agents, like asbestos, in the workplace.
Know your unique risk
If you have a family history of cancer or other risk factors, make an appointment with Fox Chase Cancer Center's Risk Assessment Program. Our expert team offers clinical and genetic evaluation and screening to assess your individual risk of getting cancer. Based on the findings, we’ll help you take steps to reduce your cancer risk and protect your health.
To get started, call 877-627-9684 or request an appointment online.