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Environmental Health

Four Things You Can Do To Prevent Cancer

Did you know there are things you can do in your everyday life to prevent cancer?  Research shows that things we do in our day-to-day lives can put us at risk of getting cancers. These patterns may start because of our busy lives.  However, it is never too late to get back on track and start taking steps towards a healthier life.  The good news is that the same things you can do to prevent heart disease and other serious conditions also decrease risk for cancer.    

1. Watch Your Weight.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), having excess body fat puts you at an increased risk for several kinds of cancer:

Extra body weight can also cause

If you are overweight, don’t be discouraged!  Start by choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-Loss program that fits your needs. You can find support through the Healthy Weight Center Support & Motivation page on NetWellness. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may involve a lifestyle change. This includes eating healthy and being physical active.  Find the things in your environment that get in the way of leading a healthy life and address them.  Also, having family and friends involved in your weight loss routine will help add motivation and support to achieve your goals.  

2. Get Enough ZZZs

Sleep does matter.  Too much or too little can hurt your long-term health.  If you don’t get enough sleep you increase your risk of developing chronic conditions like:

Lack of sleep can also decrease your life expectancy. 

Possible causes of sleep loss: 

Sometimes, you give up sleep to keep up with your busy schedule.  Other times, you may have trouble falling asleep at night.  Too much light exposure (such as using your laptop, iPad or smartphone) before bed can disrupt your natural sleep cycle.   Sleep diseases and disorders also cause sleep loss.  About 50-70 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder.  To learn more about sleep disorders, visit the Sleep Disorders health topic on NetWellness. 

How much sleep do you need?

Different people need different amounts of sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but your sleep needs may be different.

To improve your quality of sleep:

  1. Relax before bed. Soak in a hot bath or listen to soothing music.
  2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
  3. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
  4. Exercise every day!

Get enough sleep.  Just like eating right and getting enough physical activity, sleep is just as important to your health.  The right amount of sleep prevents disease and increases life expectancy.  

3. Stop the Smoking

Studies have shown that smokers tend to live 10 years less than nonsmokers.  Smoking harms your health by: 

All these factors will increase a smoker’s risk of heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, and cancer. Smoking hurts you and those around you! 42,000 Americans die each year due to secondhand smoke. Quit Today! Learn more about the dangers of smoking and get help quitting at the NetWellness Smoking and Tobacco page.

4.  Keep Moving - Physical Activity

Physical activity helps everyone! Regular physical activity helps:

When you’re older, doing physical activity will improve your ability to do daily activities.  It will also prevent falls. If you live a more sedentary lifestyle, you are more likely to develop:

Get active!

Physical activity protects you from chronic diseases.  If you have a chronic disease, regular physical activity can stop or slow the progress of the disease.

Find an activity you enjoy and try to do 30 minutes of that activity each day.  For ideas on including physical activity in your day visit the NetWellness Physical Activity and Healthy Weight page.  The NetWellness Exercise and Fitness page also provides information on physical activity and getting into shape. 

For more information:

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Last Reviewed: Jul 27, 2015

Li  Li, MD PhD Li Li, MD PhD
Case Western Reserve University