LIFESTYLE

How To Prevent Cancer: These Lifestyle Changes Could Save Your Life

12/11/2014 08:58 GMT | Updated 12/11/2014 08:59 GMT

Over eight million people die from cancer worldwide each year, but according to the World Health Organisation, at least one-third of all cancers are preventable.

There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with their own symptoms and treatment.

So, how can you give yourself the best chance of avoiding them all?

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"Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family," Dr Paul Zollinger-Read from Bupa tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle. “It’s not just lung cancer that tobacco can cause - it can also cause larynx, oesophagus, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervical cancer."

Maintaining a healthy weight is also key to preventing cancer. Eating a balanced diet with starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes), fruit and veg, dairy, protein, and some foods high in fat and sugar will keep your body at its strongest.

Dr Nitin Shori, Medical Director of the Pharmacy2U online doctor service, says we should not focus too heavily on reports that claim certain foods affect your risk of cancer.

"The difficulty is that the advice from these studies can vary wildly almost from day to day, often leaving people confused," she says.

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Upping your exercise is another way to improve and protect your health - there’s evidence that exercising daily may reduce the risk of colon cancer by about 30% and breast cancer by about 20%.

“Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise over a week. You can break this down in to more manageable chunks. Try 30 minutes a day or even three lots of 10-minute bursts a day," advises Dr Zollinger-Read.

Both doctors say that alcohol can affect your risk of cancer. Although you don't need to cut out alcohol completely, when you drink excessively or smoke and drink at the same time your risk of cancers that affect the mouth, throat and oesophagus significantly increases.

The NHS recommend women drink no more than 2-3 units of alcohol per day (the equivalent of one 175ml glass of wine) and men drink no more than 3-4 units per day (just over of a pint of strong lager, beer or cider).

"Be sensible and drink within safe limits," says Dr Zollinger-Read.

Unfortunately there's no way to guarantee you will never get cancer, as Dr Shori notes, cancer be be caused by a combination of factors, including "lifestyle, genetics and luck."

Although we can't take control of all of these factors, developing healthy habits we gives our bodies the best possible chance of avoiding cancer.

Lifestyle Risk Factors For Cancer