13 Cancer-Prevention Tips


5. Water Down Your Risks

Drinking plenty of water and other liquids may reduce the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to f lush them through the bladder faster. Drink at least 8 cups of liquid a day, suggests the American Cancer Society.

6. Load Up On Really Green Greens

Next time you're choosing salad fixings, reach for the darkest varieties. The chlorophyll that gives them their color is loaded with magnesium, which some large studies have found lowers the risk of colon cancer in women. "Magnesium affects signaling in cells, and without the right amount, cells may do things like divide and replicate when they shouldn't," says Walker. Just ? cup of cooked spinach provides 75 mg of magnesium, 20% of the daily value.

Make it tonight: The perfect cancer-fighting salad.

7. Snack On Brazil Nuts

They're a stellar source of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women, according to research from Dartmouth Medical School. Other studies have found that people with high blood levels of selenium have lower rates of dying of lung and colorectal cancers. Researchers think selenium not only protects cells from free radical damage but may enhance immune function and suppress formation of blood vessels that nourish tumors.

8. Burn Off This Breast Cancer Risk Factor

Moderate exercise such as brisk walking 2 hours a week cuts risk of breast cancer 18%. Regular workouts may lower your risks by helping you burn fat, which otherwise produces its own estrogen, a known contributor to cancer.

9. Ask Your Doc About Breast Density

Women whose mammograms have revealed breast density readings of 75% or more have a cancer risk 4 to 5 times higher than that of women with low density scores, according to recent research. One theory is that denser breasts result from higher levels of estrogen—making exercise particularly important (see previous item). "Shrinking your body fat also changes growth factors, signaling proteins such as adipokines and hormones like insulin in ways that tend to turn off cancer-promoting processes in cells," Walker says.

10. Skip The Dry Cleaner

A solvent known as perc (short for perchloroethylene) that's used in traditional dry cleaning may cause liver and kidney cancers and leukemia, according to an EPA finding backed in early 2010 by the National Academies of Science. The main dangers are to workers who handle chemicals or treated clothes using older machines, although experts have not concluded that consumers are also at increased cancer risk. Less toxic alternatives: Hand-wash clothes with mild soap and air-dry them, spot cleaning if necessary with white vinegar.

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