7 Components of an Anti-Cancer Lifestyle

Written by Paul Wolf

Here's some practical advice on reducing your risk of cancer. Social interaction is at the top of the list!

Did you know that being happily married lowers your risk for cancer?

It's not like you can just snap your fingers and make a blissful union appear. But all healthy social connections, whether they be with parents, siblings, friends or a religious congregation can boost your health.

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Practicing friendship as a method of cancer prevention? It's all part of the anti-cancer lifestyle, says Dr. James Gordon.

In his book Comprehensive Cancer Care, Gordon and co-author Sharon Curtin identify seven major components of an anti-cancer lifestyle, based on rapidly amassing scientific evidence. They say you can start reducing your risk of cancer at any age by taking a proactive approach by focusing not only on the don'ts of disease prevention, but also the do's.

To understand this kind of prevention, you have to take a peek at the expanding world of cancer treatment. In addition to the customary big guns, radiation and chemotherapy, there are now an array of complementary treatments, everything from guided imagery to stress management to support groups and journal writing.

"All of the activities that help you feel better or live longer when you have cancer are also helpful in prevention," says Gordon. "Our thoughts, feelings and beliefs affect our biological functioning."

You can't do it all, and don't need to, notes Gordon. Do what you can on this list of seven cancer fighters:

  • Stress management. From tai chi and meditation to nature walks, there is no shortage of options.
  • Attitude training/adjustment. A positive attitude makes a world of difference. Consider hypnosis or a series of daily affirmations to maintain a sunny disposition.
  • Regular exercise. Even walking counts, just make sure to do it daily.
  • Social support. No man or woman is an island. We need to connect to feel fully alive, and be healthy.
  • Creative outlets for work and play. Our species is defined by creativity. Creative fulfillment can come from a good paying job or painting a portrait. You are limited only by your imagination.
  • Use of holistic therapies. Acupuncture and herbal medicine have a growing role in maintaining health as well as restoring it.
  • A proper diet. A starting point is lots of fiber and limited fat intake. Make foods with suspected anti-cancer properties a part of your diet.
While there is no way of knowing if you're actually preventing cancer, there are many benefits to be gained from the pursuit of meaningful friendships, regular exercise and healthful diet. Living the anti-cancer lifestyle may bring you more than good health, it may bring you greater happiness.

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