MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE prostate and pancreatic cancers aren’t preventable. While you can’t control risk factors such as your age or your family medical history, you can control lifestyle factors that may help lower your cancer risk. Take a look at four ways you can fight prostate and pancreatic cancers before they even start:
1. Stop smoking. Cigarette use doesn’t just raise your risk for lung cancer. Lighting up negatively affects nearly every aspect of your health, including heart health and lung function. In addition, smoking cigarettes raises your risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, kidney, cervix, liver, stomach, colon, bladder, and pancreatic cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.
2. Keep an eye on your alcohol intake. There’s an association between drinking large amounts of alcohol and head and neck, esophageal, liver, colorectal, and breast cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. The link between drinking alcohol and pancreatic and prostate cancers is less clear, but the American Cancer Society notes that limiting alcohol can lower your risk of liver cirrhosis and chronic pancreatitis—two potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
If you do drink, make sure you do so in moderation. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate drinking as no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
3. Eat a healthy, low-fat diet. Your cancer-fighting menu should include plenty of fruits and vegetables—especially leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits—as well as fatty fish, and whole grains. The Mediterranean diet—an eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and whole grains while limiting red meat—has been associated with a reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer.
4. Maintain a healthy weight. Adults who are obese, which means they have a body mass index of 30 or higher, are roughly 20 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Obesity may also play a role in raising your prostate cancer risk. Sticking to a diet that limits fat, added sugars, sodium, and excess calories, and exercising regularly can help you maintain your weight.
For more information about Summit Healthcare’s cancer prevention and treatment services, visit summithealthcare.net/cancer.