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Protect Against Cancer

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Small Steps Matter
What Choices Protect Against Cancer?

Cancer refers to a large number of diseases categorized by unregulated replication of cells. This may result in cancers that may affect many different body systems.

When it comes to cancer there are no guarantees. However, there are choices you can make that may reduce your risks. The information below is provided solely to aid consumers in discussing nutrition and supplementation with their healthcare providers. It is not advised nor is this information intended to advocate, promote, or encourage self-use of this information for cancer risk reduction.

Some studies suggest an association between high blood or dietary levels of a particular dietary ingredient with a reduced risk of developing cancer. Even if such an association were established, this does not mean that dietary supplements containing large amounts of the dietary ingredient will necessarily have a cancer risk reduction effect. Ask your doctor about the following:

  • Focus on fiber: Eat foods rich in fiber, especially those made with whole grains, to help reduce the risk of several cancers.
  • Find healthy fats: Meals containing olive oil or fish help protect against cancer, and avoiding fat from meat (especially processed and very well done meat), dairy, and processed foods may decrease cancer risk.
  • Go vegetarian: Lower cancer risk by eating plenty of fruits, whole grains, legumes, and vegetables (especially tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage), which help to optimize body weight, immune function, and hormone regulation, and to avoid meat-related carcinogens.
  • Avoid alcohol: Use alcoholic beverages in moderation or not at all to reduce the risk of many cancers.
  • Get regular checkups: Many cancers can be prevented or discovered in the early stages with screening tests available through your doctor.

Some body systems are more commonly affected and have been more closely studied: breast, prostate, colon, and lung. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.

Breast Cancer
A healthy lifestyle offers protection now. What changes can you make to reduce your breast cancer risk or ease your treatment?

  • Get a checkup: See your healthcare professional once a year for a breast exam and mammogram to detect disease before it becomes advanced.
  • Cut back on cocktails, but not on nutrition: Limit your alcohol consumption and take a multivitamin containing folic acid to reduce alcohol-related breast cancer risk.
  • Eat risk-reducing foods: Add plenty of fiber, tomato products, soy products, and fish to your diet.
  • Seek support: If you have breast cancer, join a weekly patientsí group for social support.

Prostate Cancer
Gain added protection against prostate cancer by living a healthy lifestyle and by learning more about the causes of this common disease:

  • Eat risk-reducing foods: Add plenty of tomato, soy, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), and fish to your meals.
  • Try vitamin E: 50 IU a day of this supplement may help lower prostate cancer risks.
  • Take time for a checkup: See your doctor once a year for a prostate exam that can help detect disease before it becomes advanced.
  • Try lycopene: 4 mg twice per day for a year has been has been shown to improve precancerous conditions in at-risk people.

Colon Cancer
Studies show that diet and lifestyle changes may reduce risk of getting this cancer.

  • Eat risk-reducing foods: Load up on healthy portions of fiber, tomato products, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts), garlic, and onions, and eat less meat.
  • Try selenium supplementation: Taking 200 mcg a day of this essential trace mineral may offer protection against a variety of cancers.
  • Go for green tea: Drink several cups of green tea a day to benefit from the protective polyphenols found in tea leaves.
  • Try vitamin C: Vitamin C has been shown to improve precancerous conditions in at-risk people.

Lung Cancer
Love those lungs by protecting them from this relatively common cancer.

  • Fill up on fruits and veggies: Lower your risk of lung cancer by eating more foods high in anticancer substances, such as flavonoids, beta-carotene, and lycopene.
  • Choose your meat and fish carefully: Eat more healthy fish to lower your risk, and avoid fried, fatty, or well-done meat to avoid meat-related carcinogens.
  • Say good-bye to smoking: Kick the habit for good and steer clear of secondhand smoke, as they are leading causes of lung cancer.
  • Benefit from B-vitamins: 10,000 mcg a day of folic acid with a doctor's supervision and 500 mcg a day of vitamin B12 may help improve precancerous changes in some smokers' lungs.

Copyright © 2009 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Aisle7 content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Aisle7. Healthnotes Newsletter is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Aisle7 shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. AISLE7 is a registered trademark of Aisle7.

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