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December 2021

Take Steps Now to Prevent Cancer Later

The statistic is sobering: One in 8 people worldwide dies of cancer each year. But there is some good news. By making simple lifestyle changes, half of cancers could be avoided.

Healthy meal for cancer prevention.

Even better, you don’t have to make sweeping changes all at once. Each small improvement can add up to a longer, healthier life.

Most fall short on diet

Just 2 positive actions—eating well and getting enough physical activity—could reduce the risk for cancer occurrence and death by up to 61%. And, according to a study of more than 30,000 Americans, many have room for improvement. In fact, few followed anticancer recommendations on healthy dietary choices such as limiting red meat and getting enough fiber.

This was true for people regardless of their body mass index (BMI). However, those falling within the obese range were especially likely to eat too much red and processed meat. They also fell further short on getting enough whole grains and produce in their diets.

Simple steps for healthier eating

To improve your own eating, try these tips.

To add the good …

  • If you want to eat 2 1/2 cups of fruits and nonstarchy vegetables daily, add veggies like bell peppers or spinach to sandwiches and burgers.

  • To ensure you get 30 grams of fiber each day, blend fibrous fruit into a refreshing smoothie.

  • Get an ounce of whole grains each day by noshing on fiber-rich air-popped popcorn in place of chips.

To limit the not-so-good …

  • Omit meat from your meals one day each week to help you limit your intake of red meat to 12 ounces per week. Try beans and lentils instead.

  • Cut back on fast food meals by treating them as a special occasion. Make it a goal to eat fast food no more than twice a month.

Making major changes to your diet might feel challenging. But you don’t have to complete a total overhaul. Each small step you take gets you closer to an anticancer lifestyle. Eventually, you can develop better habits that will enhance your health for years to come.



Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2021
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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