Monday, August 5, 2013

10 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Getting Cancer

By Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND

It is almost impossible these days to meet someone whose life has not been touched by cancer and the big question is always “What can I be doing to prevent it?”  What is known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, what we do know as an accepted fact is that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make every day.  So if you're concerned about cancer prevention, take comfort in the fact that some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Consider These 10 Cancer Prevention Tips

Making the decision to smoke cigarettes puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been undeniably linked to various types of cancer — including lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. And chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas.  Exposure to secondhand smoke also increase your risk of lung cancer.

Deciding to stop using cigarettes and tobacco is one of the most important health decisions you can make with respect to cancer prevention. If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your naturopathic doctor about stop-smoking products and other strategies for quitting.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can't guarantee cancer prevention, it might help reduce your risk. Consider these guidelines:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Make the foundation of your diet fruits, vegetables and other whole foods. A great tip to ensure you are including enough variety is to include 9 different colors of fruits and veggies a day.
  • Include good sources of fats like omega-3's and cook with fats that have a high heating temperature like coconut oil and grape seed oil.
  • Last but most importantly, decrease sugar intake.  When our blood sugar is high your body release insulin and insulin growth factor into the blood.  This mechanism in excess has been shown to increase the chances of inappropriate cell growth. 

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight lowers the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney. Fat cells are a great place for our body to store toxins so maintaining a healthy BMI is key in order to keep our toxic body burden to a minimal. “

In 2008, at least 124,000 new cancers in Europe may have been related to excess body weight. There is a 1% increase in relative risk for every kilogram of excess weight.”(15th Congress of the ECCO 15th and the 34th ESMO Medical Congress: Abstract 327).

Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.  For substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 6 hours of physical activity per week. You can do a combination of mild, moderate and vigorous activity, just move! As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better!

5. Get your Sunshine

Vitamin D stores in the body have been shown to be protective against many types of cancer.  The best way to ensure adequate vitamin D status is to simply get a healthy amount of sun.  Just remember, everything in moderation.  

While sunshine is cancer protective, having had one or more blistering sunburns as a child or teenager increases your risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. Sunburns in adulthood also are a risk factor. Even a single severe sunburn increases your risk of developing melanoma which is the deadliest form of skin cancer; frequent severe sunburns doubles your lifetime risk.  To learn more about the link between Vitamin D and cancer read this blog by Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND.

6. Avoid Environmental Toxins

Environmental Toxins are everywhere. In our food and water, personal care products, household products, gardening supplies etc. Although it is not possible to avoid them completely, it is best to avoid those that are most commonly linked with cancer, such as:

7.  Acknowledge and Address Areas of Stress in Your Life

Extreme emotional stress can contribute to the development and progression of cancer. The primary type of stress that is associated with cancer risk includes emotions that are suppressed over a long period of time and prolonged situations where a person feels trapped or "sitting on the fence".

Taking steps to express emotions in a healthy way and to learn how to deal with extreme emotional situations is an important step in prevention many diseases, including cancer.

8. Structure Your Sleeping Cycles

Our bodies have their own internal clocks otherwise known as our circadian rhythm.  This rhythm is established by our sleep and wake cycles, and governs all of our hormone production, thus being very important for the body’s overall functioning.  Ensuring that you provide your body each night with proper sleep hygiene techniques is very important.

9. Know Your Family History

Knowing your family history is very important for your Naturopathic Doctor. Specific prevention strategies are available in order to change a potential cancer-causing gene expression.

10. Get Yearly Physical Exams 

Regular physical exams and blood chemistry screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

Naturopathic Prevention Primary Strategies:

 Naturopathic Doctors are specialists at prevention and solving a problem before it starts.  The body gives us many signs and symptoms before cancer is able to manifest, therefore identifying and treating these signs as soon as possible is key for cancer prevention.  Creating a healthy environment inside the body and decreasing personal cancer risk is different for everyone based on many factors but, 10 tips can go a long way to support you throughout the different stages of life.   

Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.

  Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND