7 Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Preventing Cancer and Why Early Detection is Key

Getting cancer is not just down to genes, fate or bad luck. It is a combination of our environment, genes, and lifestyle. By making healthy choices, we can lower our risk of getting cancer.

Screening tests can detect cancers early, which is when treatment works best, and by going for the recommended vaccine shots, you can reduce your risk further. In this article, Dr Wong Seng Weng shares how you can lower your cancer risk.

Making Healthy Choices and Cultivating Good Habits

1. Protecting your Skin

Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer but also one of the most preventable. Skin cancer seems to be primarily caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds.

If you want to enjoy outdoor activities while reducing the risk of skin cancer, you should take precautions such as seeking shade where possible, regularly applying sunscreen, and wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.

2. Not Smoking and Using Tobacco Products

First and second-hand smoking has been linked to various types of cancer, such as lung, mouth, throat, voice box, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney cancer. Chewing tobacco has been linked to mouth, throat and pancreas cancer too. Therefore, all tobacco products should be avoided.

3. Having a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Consuming various fruits and vegetables and other plant-based foods like whole grains and beans can promote a healthy diet. Also, reduce the amount of processed meat you consume, as eating processed meat often can slightly increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

4. Reduce or Completely Eliminate Alcohol Intake

Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all. Alcohol increases the risk of various types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver cancer. The more you drink, the greater your risk of getting cancer.

5. Be Physically Active

Evidence suggests that engaging in physical activity can lower the likelihood of developing colon cancer. In addition, exercise may also decrease the probability of breast cancer and conceivably reproductive cancers in women.

Exercise can protect against cancer even if it does not lead to weight loss. 150 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, is enough to reap the benefits. As a general goal, we should exercise at least 30 minutes daily.

6. Go for Regular Screening Tests

By performing routine self-examinations and undergoing screenings for various types of cancer, including skin, colon, cervix, and breast cancer, the probability of detecting cancer at an early stage is increased, which generally leads to better treatment outcomes. However, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the optimal cancer screening regimen for your specific circumstances.

7. Vaccine Shots

Certain viral infections, such as Hepatitis and HPV, increase the risk of cancer. It is important to be immunised and get the recommended vaccine and, if applicable, the booster shots.

Picture of Dr Wong Seng Weng

Dr Wong Seng Weng

At The Cancer Centre (TCC), Dr Wong Seng Weng and his medical oncology team are focusing their expertise on implementing preventive measures, actively conducting screening and providing innovative, targeted treatments for adult cancers, as well as using proven technologies to ensure optimal patient safety and comfort.

Dr Wong, a visiting consultant medical oncologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Novena) and Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), holds the appointment of Adjunct Clinician Scientist at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). He is also an active member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, European Society of Medical Oncology and Singapore Society of Oncology.

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Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a healthcare organisation with a network of private specialist providers across four established pillars - Aesthetics, Diagnostic Imaging & Screening, Oncology and Women's & Children's Health. Within Singapore, SMG has more than 40 clinics strategically located in central Singapore and heartland estates. Beyond Singapore, SMG also has an established presence in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. Learn about our privacy policy here.

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