Help reduce your cancer risk

Wed 11th December 2019
Happy Healthy People

It’s no secret that leading a healthy lifestyle can make you stronger, less susceptible to illness and more likely to bounce back after a cold or flu, but it can also help prevent the risk of developing certain cancers.

A year-long cancer awareness project was launched in the East Riding at the start of the year to help support residents through what could be one of the toughest times in their lives.

As part of this, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has been working through a number of cancer-related topics throughout the year which focus on the different types of cancer, the signs and symptoms and what residents can do to support each other.

This month looks at promoting good health and wellbeing in order to lower the risk of developing cancer.

Here are eight ways to help prevent your risk of developing cancer:

1. Eating healthily

It’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet in order to be at your best. Eating healthily will help your body to be strong enough to reduce the chance of catching a cold, flu and other illnesses.

It also helps to fight infection more quickly if you do get ill.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer and other health problems.

Keeping to a healthy weight has lots of benefits and reduces your risk of other medical conditions, as well as helping to reduce the risk of certain cancers coming back if you have previously been through cancer.

3. Stop smoking

Stopping smoking is the single most effective way to help prevent developing cancer. It’s not easy, but there is help available from your GP or the NHS support service. There are local support groups to join for people wishing to quit and there is also one-to-one support.

4. Be physically active

Being physically active plays an important part in keeping your body and mind healthy.

A physically active lifestyle can help look after your bones and your heart, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and bone thinning (osteoporosis).

It’s important to do the exercise that you are comfortable with. It doesn’t have to mean going for a 30-minute jog to town and back, it could simply mean going for a walk, doing some simple chair-based exercises or dancing in your living room, for example. Not all exercise has to be strenuous.

5. Protect yourself from the sun

Exposing yourself to prolonged and harmful rays can have a negative impact on your skin, especially those who are vulnerable such as babies and children. Remember to wear sun protection, preferably factor 50, in order to protect your skin from the heat of the sun, especially during heatwaves.

6. Stick to sensible drinking guidelines

NHS guidelines recommend that women and men do not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week and have a few alcohol-free days each week. A unit of alcohol is half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider, one small glass (125ml) of wine or a single measure (25ml) of spirits.

Alcohol is linked with an increased risk of some cancers and can lead to weight gain. Sticking to sensible drinking guidelines is good for your overall health.

7. Find ways to reduce stress

Short-term stress can often help you perform better under pressure, but becoming too stressed can have a negative effect on your body and mind, in some cases increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint what is causing you stress in your life, but finding the trigger may help you to reduce it.

Constant stress can be bad for your mental health and can lead to depression.

It’s important to talk about it if you are struggling, whether it’s a loved one, friend or professional such as your GP.

8. Try to sleep well

Getting good quality sleep is vital for a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep, or lack of sleep, can have a huge effect on your mental and physical state and can lead to other health problems.

If you are struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up after sleep, you should contact your GP to find out if there is an underlying cause.

John Skidmore, director of adults, health and customer services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “I would encourage you to take a few moments to think about your own physical and mental health which is a great way of re-assessing in your own mind how you are doing, what you may need to potentially change a little, to just feel a bit better and healthier as many of us lead very busy and demanding lives.”

For more information, visit the council’s health website at

Just Beverley