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21 tips to help you sidestep cancer

Think there’s nothing you can do to stop cancer? Think again. Scientists have discovered secrets to fighting back and winning, so in many cases a cure is possible—if cancer is found at an early stage. Best of all, there are ways to keep it from striking in the first place. Here are 21 of the best ideas to stop cancer and live:

          Tobacco and respiratory cancer

  1. Stop smoking. It’s your most controllable risk factor.
  2. Realize that smoking a single cigar yields the same blast of nicotine and carcinogens as 20 cigarettes.
  3. Refuse to chew tobacco. It causes cancers of the mouth, gums and throat…and terrible breath.
  4. Combine nicotine patches with regular clinical monitoring when kicking the habit. This technique can improve your odds of success by 50 percent.

    Sun and skin cancer

  5. Use sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher and remember to use lip balm fortified with sunblock.
  6. Avoid sunlight from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when ultraviolet rays are strongest.
  7. Wear wide-brim hats and dark sunglasses outdoors.
  8. Protect youngsters from sunburn. Kids who burn frequently have a greater risk of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, when they become adults.

    Nutrition and cancer prevention

  9. Cut down on salt. Excessive dietary salt is suspected of promoting cancer in the digestive tract.
  10. Enjoy at least five servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day.
  11. Stop barbecuing meats beyond recognition. High heat forms heterocyclic amines in meat, strongly implicated in stomach cancer.
  12. Enjoy a daily cup of green tea. It may reduce stomach cancer.
  13. Cut down on alcohol. More than one drink a day for women and two a day for men increases the risk for breast, colon and liver cancers.
  14. Switch to whole-grain products rich in vitamin E, which in one major study cut prostate cancer rates by one-third.

    Environmental cancer risks

  15. Test your home for radon, a gas that causes lung cancer.
  16. Stop buying aerosol insulation and cosmetics containing formaldehyde, suspected of causing nasal and lung cancers.
  17. Protect yourself when using home-repair materials—tiles, flooring, roof shingles—containing asbestos. Never saw, drill or tear them without wearing gloves and a mask.
  18. Stay active and exercise to maintain proper weight.
  19. Women ages 20–30: Get a clinical breast exam by a healthcare provider at least once every three years. Women ages 40 and older: Get an annual clinical breast exam by a healthcare provider and mammography. Men: Perform monthly exams of your testicles. Everyone: Make monthly exams of your skin from head to toe using a full-length mirror assisted by a hand mirror.
  20. Talk to your doctor about the important screenings you need as you grow older, such as for breast, prostate and colon cancers—and have them done.
  21. Study your family’s history of specific types of cancers, then change your lifestyle to avoid them.