With temperatures dropping and the holiday season upon us, it may be tempting to slip into unhealthy habits that can increase the risk of developing many preventable cancers.
Lifestyle choices have a considerable impact on preventing a large number of cancers, according to the BC Cancer Agency.
The organization's "5 gives you 50" message reminds British Columbians that five lifestyle adjustments can help reduce more than 50 per cent of cancers, when followed year-round.
1) Eliminate tobacco use: Whether chewed, smoked or inhaled first-or second-hand, tobacco kills thousands of Canadians each year. Even third-hand smoke, or the smoke trapped in hair, skin, clothes, walls, drapes, carpets, furniture and toys, can irritate the lungs and potentially cause harm to the young and vulnerable.
2) Eat fresh, whole foods: The temptation to indulge in calorie-laden seasonal treats may become more pronounced as the festive season draws closer, but the link between obesity and cancer is proven. Obesity accounts for 14 per cent of all cancer deaths in men and 20 per cent in women.
3) Maintain a healthy weight: Researchers suggest limiting weight gain in adulthood by prioritizing exercise and healthy eating. Ways to combat weight gain include regular physical activity and the inclusion of vegetables, fruit, bean, lean protein and whole grain-rich diet, as well as the limiting of alcohol, processed meats, sugar and salt.
4) Get regular exercise: Regular physical activity such as exercise that causes a sweat or brisk walking for at least 30 minutes every day is important. The aim, as endurance levels improve, is to increase activity to at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise or a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity every day.
5) Eliminate sunbed use and limit UV exposure from the sun: Whether a snowbird flying south or a skier hitting the slopes, researchers warn that vigilance against UV rays is just as important in the fall and winter months as it is in the summer. The sun's rays can still shine through on cloudy days and when combined with higher altitudes with snow on the ground, the sun's reflection can cause an added risk of sunburns.
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