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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : What are the best natural ways to help prevent cancer?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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December 16, 2013
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Great question! All of the promotions for cancer screening — such as PSA testing and mammography — have overshadowed the importance of cancer prevention.

Here is what you can do to help lower your cancer risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don't smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • Avoid alcohol or have an average of no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
  • Avoid binge drinking, even if don’t drink most days of the week
  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, especially the green leafy ones. They are rich in folic acid. For women, folic acid may offset any increased risk of breast cancer from drinking alcohol.
  • Eat more fiber-rich foods. It may lower your risk of colon cancer.
  • Stay physically active, and try to find time every day for dedicated exercise. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.

These healthy lifestyle choices not only cut your cancer risk, you can also help keep your heart and brain healthy!

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