Cancer Prevention: 6 Healthy Habits

Cancer is a scary word, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the numbers; ones like 48,586 (the number of cancer deaths predicted for 2018) and 138,321 (the estimated number of new cancer diagnoses for the same year). But, did you know that at least one in three cases of cancer is preventable and that you can significantly reduce your risk by adopting these six healthy lifestyle habits?


Be sun safe
Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world and according to Cancer Council Australia, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. As most skin cancers in Australia are caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun, it’s vital that you protect yourself by following the Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide campaign: Slip on sun-protective clothing, slop on a broad screen SPF30+ sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading outside and every two hours after that, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on your sunnies. Cancer Council also advises that you consult a doctor if you notice any change in the shape, colour or size of an existing lesion on your skin, or the development of a new one.
And while this prevention protocol is important there is also growing evidence that Vitamin D deficiency is linked with cancer, such as cancer of the liver. So whilst avoiding the sun is important, so too is getting about 10-15 minutes per day of sun exposure, to help improve vitamin D levels which is immuno-protective.

Exercise regularly
Physical inactivity not only increases your risk of developing certain types of cancers, it also leads to weight gain. And studies have shown that being overweight or obese is a serious risk factor for cancer – not to mention heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So, if you’re not exercising regularly, why not let our team guide you on your fitness journey? Take advantage of our Personal Training sessions that are available in for Pilates, Yoga and Fitness!.


Avoid alcohol
Alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, bowel, liver, larynx, pharynx, mouth and oesophagus. What’s more, the risk for some of these cancers increases if you not only consume alcohol, but are a smoker, too. While your safest bet is to avoid alcohol altogether, if you do decide to have a drink, make sure you stick to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s recommendation of two standard drinks per day for men and women.


Quit smoking
According to Cancer Council Australia, “The most comprehensive study of cancer causation in Australia estimated that 81% of lung cancers in 2010 were caused by tobacco smoking.” Small wonder that cigarettes have sometimes been referred to as cancer sticks. If you’re a smoker, why not think seriously about making 2018 the year that you kick the habit? And if you’re not, stay well away from second-hand smoke – it can cause a number of health problems, including cancer.


Eat right
What you eat – especially if you stick to these golden rules – can go a long way towards reducing your cancer risk:

• Include plenty of fruit, vegetables and legumes in your diet.
• Choose wholegrains wherever possible as fibre plays a key role in reducing your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
• Curb your salt intake.
• Limit the amount of processed food you eat, especially those that are high in fat, have added sugar, or contain very little fibre.
• Stay away from all processed meats, which have been linked to certain cancers.
• Avoid eating too much red meat (3–4 times a week is plenty) and opt for fish, chicken or vegetarian dishes instead.


Stress Management
Chronic stress can alter the levels of hormones in the body which weakens the immune system. This may not directly cause cancer but a weakened immune system can increase the effects of other risk factors for cancer. Meditation and mindfulness practices are some tools you can use to help manage this – if you are interested in developing your practice check our introductory courses schedule for the Meditation workshop.

If you’d like to chat to an expert about helping your body function optimally through good nutrition, book an appointment with Elixr Nutritionist Mogestri Pather on nutrition@elixr.com.au or 0414 650 515.