Cut your risk of cancer up to 40%
Published on April, 18th 2017
By Greg Wells
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. The reality of cancer is upsetting, but there is hope. You can cut your cancer risk in half by committing to four important areas. No magic pills, insane amount of money, or all-consuming regimen. And, the best news is, you will not only lower your risk of cancer, but also improve your overall health and change your life for the positive.
There is no getting past it: optimal health and performance starts with sleep. Although sleep is not a laborious task, it has become increasingly difficult to do with the stress, responsibilities, and electronics in our lives.
A 2012 US study found that women who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer and of developing more aggressive tumours than are those women who do get adequate sleep.
Another study shows that women who sleep longer and more efficiently (measured as less movement during sleep) survived advanced breast cancer for 68.9 months on average, as
opposed to only 33.2 months for those who slept less efficiently. The study’s authors suggest that sleep keeps cancer cells under control.
Bottom line: Make sure you’re sleeping enough. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, make sure enough sleep is part of your treatment plan.
Lack of physical activity has crept up the list of global causes of death to fourth place, after high blood pressure, smoking, and high blood sugar.
When humans move, our genetic pathways are activated, and our DNA signals the creation of new proteins that make us healthier, fitter, and stronger. Movement can be used to prevent and treat almost every chronic illness people face.
We know that exercise is related to lower risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and many other types of cancer. As little as 15 minutes of exercise a day is enough to decrease our risk of certain cancers by 24 to 40%.
Anything that is fun and exciting will do the trick. Try mountain biking, trail hiking, paddle boarding, or tennis. Add something new to your workout routine from time to time. The key takeaway here is that regular, moderate exercise decreases cancer risk.
Nutrition can impact people with various types of cancer and the most powerful data relate to how we can use nutrition to prevent cancer altogether. Foods, compounds, and nutrients have been found to be protective against lung, breast, pancreatic, and skin cancers, among others.
Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables has been shown to prevent many cancers. Protective foods include citrus fruits, berries, vegetables, whole grains, and foods that are high in flavonoids.
If you drink coffee, you’re in luck. Even consuming a moderate amount of coffee decreases your risk of colorectal and liver cancer. More is not always better though. Limit your intake to 1-2 cups of coffee or tea per day.
Unfortunately, data also show that certain foods can increase our risk of various types of cancer. There are links between red and processed meat consumption, trans fats, and simple carbohydrates, and risk of cancer.
To decrease your risk of getting cancer, decrease how much of the unhealthy foods you eat—grilled red meats, foods high in trans fats, and foods that are high in simple sugary carbohydrates—and up your intake of cancer-fighting foods and compounds like fresh organic fruits and vegetables.
One of the more interesting discoveries is the correlation between mental health and cancer.
The immune system and the various cells that make up the system’s response to infection also serve to combat cancer in the human body. Immune-system cells can target and destroy tumour cells or other types of cancer cells. However, suppression of the immune system from stress or other harmful mental states can increase the incidence of cancer.
After World War 2, researchers monitored the incidence of cancer in a group of 6,284 Jewish Israelis who had lost an adult son during the war. There were higher rates of cancer among the
bereaved parents than among non-bereaved members of the population. In this case, it appears that the chronic stress response suppressed the immune system and created an opportunity for cancer cells to grow and propagate.
The concept that the brain can control the immune system, and that the immune system can have an impact on cancer progression, is a powerful one. Practice meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing, or spend time in nature and with people you enjoy, to help combat cancer.
Don’t delay in creating a life you love that keeps you healthy for the long haul. Increasing your daily sleep, movement, and consumption of health foods, while decreasing your stress levels and consumption of unhealthy foods, will help improve your overall health and ultimately decrease your risk of cancer.
If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights. You might also enjoy my podcast! I also just published my new book The Ripple Effect (Harper Collins) that has loads more information like this to help you Sleep Soundly, Eat Smarter, Move More and Think Clearly.