5 Lifestyle Strategies to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Including tips that will help you live your healthiest life.

By: Lauren Panoff MPH, RD

We all want to enjoy long lives and be as healthy as possible, but we’re also aware of the many risks we face as we get older—including cancer. While we can’t control everything, the good news is that our daily habits can help reduce our risk of certain cancers. 

Research shows that only 5-10% of cancers are genetic, leaving the rest largely influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors. Find 5 lifestyle tips to reduce cancer risk next. 

5 Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Cancer Risk 

#1 Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet

A diet that balances a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and other lean proteins can help reduce your risk of cancer. Limiting ultra-processed foods, fried foods, red and processed meats, alcohol, and sugary beverages is important. 

Prioritize foods high in antioxidants, which help protect your cells from stress and damage that can promote cancer. Antioxidant-rich foods include berries, leafy greens, nuts, dark chocolate, and cruciferous vegetables. 

RELATED: The Top Cancer-Fighting Foods, According to Research 

#2 Regular Physical Activity

Being physically active helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of various types of cancer. 

Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days per week, for general health and disease prevention. Include a variety of things you enjoy, like swimming, jogging, playing tennis, lifting weights at the gym, or joining a group fitness class. 

#3 Avoid Tobacco and Limit Alcohol Consumption

Tobacco use is a leading cause of many types of cancer, including lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder cancer. Avoiding tobacco in any form, including smoking and chewing, is crucial for cancer prevention. 

Additionally, limiting alcohol consumption can also reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as breast, liver, and colorectal cancer. If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no reason to start. If you do, be sure to stay within moderation, which is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women or up to 2 drinks per day for men by the USDA. 

RELATED: The Top Foods to Avoid to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

#4 Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Adopting healthy eating habits and regular physical activity can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reducing your health risks.

A registered dietitian, like the ones at FitOn Care, can help you create a weight loss plan tailored to your needs. 

#5 Practice Sun Safety

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, but it’s also one of the most preventable. Protect your skin by seeking shade when appropriate, wearing protective clothing, including wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, and regularly using sunscreen with a high SPF, especially when spending time outdoors.

The Bottom Line

Rather than living in fear of the unknown, the best way to reduce our risk of cancer and other chronic diseases is to make healthier choices every day. This includes improving the nutritional quality of our diet, moving our bodies more, maintaining a healthy body weight, not getting too much sun, and not smoking or drinking excessively.