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More things you can do to cut your cancer risk

Aside from your weight, smoking, and drinking, there are other lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing cancer. Here are some other ones that are likely to affect your health here in North America:

  • low intake of fruits and vegetables
  • "unsafe" sex
  • air pollution

Just as with the three main factors, there are ways you can reduce the risk posed by these factors as well. Here are some tips.

Eat healthy

  • Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal (e.g., green leafy veggies, broccoli, carrots, blueberries), as recommended by Canada's Food Guide. Keep fresh fruit and veggies washed, cut, and ready to eat.
  • Fill one quarter of your plate with whole grain foods (oats, quinoa, brown rice) and another quarter with protein-rich foods (tofu, nuts, legumes).
  • Reduce the amount of red and processed meat that you consume.
  • Start meals off with a salad, or top your cereal with fresh fruit.
  • Keep frozen fruits and veggies on hand. Vegetables maintain their nutrient content through the commercial freezing process and can easily be incorporated into a pasta or stir-fry. Fruits can be a great addition to milk, juice, or yogurt for a quick smoothie.
  • You've probably heard this before, but it's worth repeating: stay away from foods that are high in salt and sugar, like sugary drinks, fast foods, and processed foods!  Just remember – lots of fruit, veggies, and fibre, very little sugar, salt, and fat!

Practice "safe" sex

  • Limit your number of sexual partners, and use condoms when you have sex.
  • Learn how to use condoms properly. They are the only form of contraception that, when used properly, can decrease your risk of sexually transmitted infections.
  • Use a water-based lubricant. Oil-based lubricants can cause condoms to break down.
  • For women, have Pap smears as recommended by your doctor in order to check for early signs of cervical cancer.
  • Speak to your doctor about receiving vaccines against certain viral infections:
    • HPV (human papillomavirus) – this virus has been linked to cervical cancer.
    • Hepatitis B – this virus has been linked to liver cancer.

Reduce your exposure to air pollution

  • Check daily air quality levels in your area before spending time outside. Limit your time outdoors during smog advisories, particularly if you have a respiratory condition.
  • Make your home and car smoke-free.
  • Prevent fumes from lingering in your living space by regularly checking exhaust systems and flues for home furnaces, fireplaces, hot water heaters, and other possible sources of indoor pollutants.
  • Make sure air filters in your home are cleaned or replaced as often as recommended.

Do your part to reduce air pollution: when possible, walk, take public transit, or ride a bike instead of driving your car.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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