Maria Baker, professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Penn State Cancer Institute, explained that while certain elements that define a healthy lifestyle may vary, current recommendations often include regular aerobic activity for about 30 minutes at least five times a week. She added that individuals need to incorporate weight-bearing exercises for each workout session.
Other common suggestions from experts often include the following:
Baker said that not everyone would benefit from genetic testing to confirm a predisposition to certain types of cancer. She commented that it's our responsibility to look into our family and personal history.
It's also up to us to figure out how to tailor screening recommendations. Baker emphasized the importance of communicating with relatives to take note of your family medical history. Having this information is important, so you always have access to data like common disorders and diseases among your family members.
Dr. Sarah Ines Ramirez, a family medicine physician at Penn State Medical Group in Harrisburg, said that in most cases, healthcare professionals would refer to a patient's medical chart. A patient will also need to answer questions about their habits, lifestyle, occupation, where and who they live with. Patients also have to stay updated when it comes to their screenings and developments in their family or personal medical history.
Although not all patients are aware of the importance of discussing habits like alcohol consumption and smoking or data like body mass index (BMI) and menstrual patterns, these factors often help healthcare professionals monitor screenings that can help catch or prevent cancers at an early stage.
For example, even if you don't smoke you may be at risk for lung cancer if you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.
Dr. Ramirez pointed out that healthcare professionals must also be familiar with certain differences in factors that determine cancer risks among the populations they serve. For example, while cervical cancer rates are highest in Latin women, most casualties occur among African Americans. Dr. Ramirez added that African-American women with breast cancer tend to have more aggressive forms of the disease during diagnosis. (Related: 4 Ways to Lower Stress and Prevent Breast Cancer.)
Dr. Ramirez noted that healthcare professionals would benefit from making an effort to learn more about their patients. She also noted that even those who don't regularly consult a healthcare professional could be more active when it comes to their health by inquiring about their family health history, asking if they require any preventative treatments, and being honest with a healthcare expert.
She concluded that patients who have certain concerns or worries shouldn't be afraid to ask healthcare professionals any questions that they might have. After all, prevention is always better than cure.
Here are other lifestyle tips that can help lower your risk of cancer:
You can learn more about cancer and how a healthy lifestyle can help prevent it at Cancer.news.