You may have noticed we are always reminded about all types of cancers. I have worked with cancer patients for many years, and as something that has touched my family and friends, is an area I feel passionate about. It seems there is hardly anyone who doesn’t know someone who has been diagnosed with one form or another. Whether the rise in cancer is due to an increase in occurrence or just that we’re better at diagnosing it is unclear.

However, the good news is that there are many simple things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer. Cancer Research UK has found that a whopping 42% of cancers are preventable by lifestyle changes. So let’s look at what you can do to keep healthy:

1) STOP SMOKING!!!! Sorry to shout, but this is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your overall health and drastically cut your risk of cancer. Quitting can be tough but it’s so worth it. Don’t struggle alone and seek out help if you need support.

2) Keep a healthy weight. We’re not talking Hollywood thin here, just a normal BMI. Obesity has been linked with several cancers.

3) Eat a healthy diet. This isn’t always simple as there are so many conflicting pieces of advice. However, I love the advice of Michael Pollan: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Basically, eat real food as close to its natural form, lots of fruit and veg, whole grains and only a little meat; choose organic where you can. Avoid processed refined foods, avoid additives, chemicals and ‘fake’ food. This in turn should make 2) happen naturally! http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/unhappy-meals/.

42% of cancers are preventable by lifestyle changes

4) Drink alcohol in moderation, (or not at all, but who are we kidding?!). If you’re only having a little, then splash out on good quality drinks which don’t have chemical processes. There are more organic drinks available now which tend to reduce that hungover feeling.

5) Be sun smart. A small amount of exposure is crucial for vitamin D (and for me, my mental health!) but overdoing it puts you at risk of sun damage that can lead to skin cancer.

6) Keep active. 30 mins of moderate activity a day, such as brisk walking, is sufficient to reduce your cancer risk. So maybe get off the bus or tube one stop earlier and walk a little further to work, or walk to the shops rather than driving.

7) Change your soap! Reduce your toxin load by changing your toiletries and household products for ones with more natural ingredients. Dozens of chemicals are considered cause for concern, including PEGs, saccharin, SLS/SLES, formaldehyde, MEA, DEA, ‘fragrance’, petroleum, mineral oil, phenoxyethanol, PABA, talc, parabens, phthalates and triclosan.

8) Safe sex. Wearing condoms can protect you from HPV which can go on to cause cervical cancer and other cancers.

9) Limit HRT. HRT causes 1700 cases of cancer per year (according to Cancer Research UK) and there can be other natural ways to tackle the effects of menopause such as herbs and reflexology.

10) Reduce radiation. There is limited evidence that exposure to mobile phones, wifi and masts cause cancer but it hasn’t been proven safe either. There’s sufficient concern that France has banned wifi in schools, using Ethernet cables instead. There’s no harm being mindful of radiation and reducing exposure where you can.

Of course, there is no magic recipe to guarantee you’ll never develop cancer and if that does happen, then know that treatments are becoming more refined and more effective. There is a lot of support services out there now for people living with cancer, including us!

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed, then you can contact me (Jenni Stone) for a free consultation to see if we can help directly and to help you find the additional support you need.

DON’T FORGET

  • To do regular self-examination on breasts/testicles (whichever apply!)
  • Don’t ignore anything that concerns you, it’s probably nothing but get it checked out and put your mind at rest.