Things You Wish You Always Knew – 6 Ways To Influence Cancer Risk
We all know that our diet and lifestyle have a day-to-day influence on our health and wellbeing. But you may not realise that epidemiological studies have confirmed a 31-47% reduction of certain cancer risks over 7 years by adopting some simple but effective changes. There are a number of cancer-related events in February, including World Cancer Day on the 4th and Teal Ribbon Giving Day for Ovarian Cancer on February 28th. In fact, the month of February is dedicated to Ovarian Cancer Awareness. With these in mind, here are 6 key ways that can influence and reduce your cancer risk.
Get More Sleep
Those who consistently get less than 6 hours sleep per day directly increase certain cancer risks by 62%. Don’t worry about the odd nights here and there and work deadlines that throw you out for a while. For an excellent resource on the power of sleep read: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
Heads-up . . . sleeping medications such as benzodiazepines DO NOT hold any benefit and are in fact more harmful long-term.
This is an area that natural medicine can really shine – if you are having trouble sleeping book in with Caren for a consultation to find out the drivers behind it.
Stress and chronic depression of more than 6yrs do play a role – but instead of focusing on the past we need to look forward. Utilizing mindfulness and focusing on your spiritual health and relationships are important. If pessimism is a trait for you then it may be time to explore cognitive behavioural therapy. If you suffer depression: seek help. There is much natural medicine can offer in this space. From cortisol testing to neurotransmitter profiling, we have valuable tools to help us assess the best way forward in supporting you.
Get Adequate Vitamin D
Low vitamin D levels are associated with larger tumours for certain cancers at the time of initial diagnosis. Aim to have your Vitamin D at 100nmol/L and check this annually if you have a history of it being low. Supplement if necessary and re-check 3 months post commencing supplementation – if it’s still not increasing despite supplementation speak to your Naturopath or Clinical Nutritionist who knows how to influence this.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Those who drink 1-2 alcoholic drinks a day increase breast cancer risk by 10%, 3+ standard drinks a day increases risk by 30%! Other cancers associated with increased alcohol consumption are: melanoma, colon, prostate, pancreatic, liver, oesophageal. So how much and how often? 3-5 standard drinks a week is associated with overall reduced mortality. If you enjoy a glass have a couple on the weekend – make it social and make it meaningful. Red wine if you enjoy it has the benefit of polyphenols and antioxidants. A good rule of thumb is if you “need it” – you need to think twice. Help is at hand, you are not alone, just reach out.
Manage Your Weight
Did you know that 1 in 6 who are classified as obese will have a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime? Being underweight also poses some risk – so we are looking for overall health.
People with obesity may have an increased risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the breast (in women who have been through menopause), colon, rectum, endometrium (lining of the uterus), oesophagus, kidney, pancreas, and gallbladder. Understanding why weight may be an issue for you is something we do well – lets us help you get this right.
This is your VERY BEST protection: 30min of moderate exercise 5 x per week brings a WHOPPING 61% reduced risk for breast, colon and prostate cancer. Vigorous exercise brings even more benefit and being sedentary increases your risk. So move, move and MOVE some more. It’s free, it improves sleep, mood, and overall wellbeing: what is not to love about exercise? Start with a friend, start gently, BUT START.
If you are struggling with any of the issues outlined above, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Caren, who has a special interest in helping clients with many of the areas we’ve covered.
We offer Naturopathy and Nutritional Medicine consultations
at 2 convenient locations, Brisbane CBD and Graceville