These lifestyle changes can prevent certain forms of cancer, experts say

11:10 AM, Dec 14, 2020
11:11 AM, Dec 14, 2020

Cancer Prevention Awareness is important and Dr. Henry Lee, medical oncologist and hematologist at Arizona Oncology, says it’s a great time to assess if lifestyle choices are putting us at unnecessary risk for cancer.

The American Institute for Cancer research indicates that approximately 340,000 cancer cases nationwide could have been prevented each year if Americans moved more, weighed less and ate more healthfully.

Dr. Lee recommends that we embrace taking charge of our well-being and avoid “wishful thinking” or the belief that cancer is somehow inevitable.

“The truth is that cancer death rates especially for lung and skin cancer have dropped due to treatment advancements, genetic testing and healthier life choices,” Dr. Lee said. He cites recent American Cancer Society statistics that show cancer death rates dropped 2.2 percent between 2016-17, representing the largest drop since record keeping began in 1930.

To take important steps toward preventing common forms of cancer, Dr. Aisha Ahmed from Arizona Oncology recommends:

Eat well. Eating a healthier diet may lower your risk of many types of the disease including colon, stomach, esophageal and oral cancers. Most nutritionists recommend filling half your plate with nutrient- and antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits while avoiding overly processed foods and red meat.

Exercise. The American Cancer Society urges adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity every week. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, regulate hormone levels, and speeds digestion — all valuable in the fight against cancer.

Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity puts the colon, gallbladder, esophagus, kidney, liver, pancreas, stomach, thyroid, central nervous system, blood, ovaries and uterus at greater risk for the disease. There is also a correlation between postmenopausal women who are overweight and breast cancer.

Limit alcohol consumption. Evidence is mounting that all types of alcohol increase your risk of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, colon and rectum. In fact, the National Toxicology Program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services lists alcoholic beverages as a known carcinogen.

Don’t smoke. More than 1.5 million people die from lung cancer worldwide every year with 80 to 90 percent of the deaths related to smoking. Get support to quit smoking through cessation programs offered locally by medical centers, Maricopa County, veteran’s programs and the Arizona ASHLine at 800-556-6222.

Be sun smart. Skin cancer is the most common cancer affecting more than three million Americans each year. Avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when harmful UV rays are strongest. Prevent sunburns by applying and re-applying sunscreen (UVA/UVB SPF 15 or higher) and covering exposed skin when in the sun.

Get Screened. Talk to your doctor about regular cancer screenings including genetic based on your ethnicity and family history. The goal is to diagnose cancer when it is most treatable. With cervical and colon cancers, screening can diagnose precancerous lesions and even prevent cancer from developing in the first place.

About Arizona Oncology

Arizona Oncology plays a major role in helping its patients win the battle against cancer by providing convenient access to a full range of cancer care services within a compassionate setting. Arizona Oncology believes it is beneficial to provide cancer therapies in a community setting close to patients' homes and support systems.

Arizona Oncology is one of the largest medical groups in Arizona. With more than 120 providers devoted exclusively to providing comprehensive, compassionate and high-quality cancer care, Arizona Oncology specializes in Medical, Gynecologic, Breast Surgical, and Radiation Oncology, Hematology, Stem Cell Transplant, Urology, Colon and Rectal surgery, Research, Genetic Risk Assessment and patient ancillary programs. The physicians and their staff treat patients in many communities throughout the state including: Deer Valley, East Valley (Tempe and East Mesa), Flagstaff, Glendale, Goodyear, Green Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Scottsdale, and Tucson.

Arizona Oncology believes it is beneficial to provide cancer therapies in a community setting, close to patients' homes and support systems. The physicians are supported by a talented clinical team sensitive to the needs of cancer patients and their caregivers. For more information, visit

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