new year's resolutions to prevent cancer

You’ve heard it, and probably have said it yourself before – new year, new you! After the holiday season wraps up, people around the world start thinking about what they want to improve about themselves over the next year. Whether it’s eating healthier, being nicer, giving back to the community, or something else – there are always steps we can take to become a better person inside and out.

One popular resolution is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Although undertaken by many, this kind of New Year’s resolution is an important one and can help prevent cancer. By eating the right foods, kicking bad habits, and getting exercise, you can reduce your risk of developing diseases and illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Looking for a resolution for the new year? Here are five examples that can help prevent cancer:

Eat A Well-Balanced Diet

At one point in your life, you’ve probably looked at your diet and thought ‘I should eat healthier.’ You’re right. Food is our fuel — it is what keeps us going and what we are made of.

According to the American Cancer Society, poor diet can lead to becoming overweight and is one of two key factors that increase your risk of developing cancer, along with other chronic diseases. Watching portion sizes and limiting foods high in fat, calories, and sugar, along with regular exercise, can help control your weight. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text the word STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Click here to view the privacy and terms.

Exercise Regularly

Another key factor that increases your risk of developing cancer is not exercising. Adding more exercise to your routine is a common New Year’s resolution, and cancer prevention is and even more important reason to follow through. Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight.

If you aren’t physically active, start at a slow pace and work your way up to getting at least two and a half hours of activity through the week.

Stop Smoking/Using Tobacco

Not a new fact, but a very important one is that smoking and using tobacco cause cancer. Not only has smoking been linked to lung cancer, but smoking and using tobacco also increases your risk of developing cancers of the esophagus, throat, nasal cavity, pancreas, stomach, cervix, and more. It also is known to cause lung and heart diseases.

By quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk of cancer significantly. If you need help, there are many smoking cessation programs that can get you started.

Get Regular Cancer Screening Tests

Regular screenings help in early detection, prevention, and treatment of cancer. There are many different kinds of screening tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, imaging procedures, and genetic tests. Screening tests include mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopies for colorectal cancer, pap tests for cervical and uterine cancers, and more.

Learn more about cancer screenings. Talk to your doctor to see what screenings are appropriate for you.

Encourage Family and Friends To Do the Same

Maybe you already live a healthy lifestyle and try to incorporate the above resolutions into your everyday life — but do your friends and family?

By encouraging your loved ones, you can help keep them healthy and decrease their risk of cancer. If a family member smokes, encourage them to quit and be there for them when it gets tough.

Or maybe your mother hasn’t been to the doctor for her check-up and mammogram – make the appointment and offer to take her. If you have a friend who is struggling to lose weight, get on a schedule and go to the gym and keep track of your food with them. Not only will you help your loved ones meet their goals, you’ll stay healthy, too!

If you are seeking additional advice on cancer prevention, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Prevention and Early Detection Services is located on the ground floor of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Many services are part of ongoing research projects and are free of charge.

In addition to health assessments and cancer screenings, other services include smoking cessation services and weight management and exercise counseling. Visit us online to learn more details about the services offered, or call us at 412-623-5900.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

When you are facing cancer, you need the best care possible. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, with more than 200 oncologists – making it easier for you to find world-class care close to home. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment. Most of all, we are here for you. Our patient-first approach aims to provide you and your loved ones the care and support you need. To find a provider near you, visit our website.