Five Healthy Habits to Lower Your Cancer Risk

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Published on February 13, 2019

Five Healthy Habits to Lower Your Cancer Risk

Headshot of Dr. Cox, medical oncologistThe National Cancer Institute says about one in three Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime. But, Dr. Timothy Cox, medical oncologist at the Bronson Cancer Care Center - Battle Creek, says you can lower your risk starting today. How? Follow these five simple lifestyle habits.

  1. Quit smoking and using tobacco.
    Tobacco is the single leading cause of cancer. If you use tobacco products or are in regular contact with secondhand smoke, you are at risk of developing various types of cancer, especially lung cancer. For a long and healthy life, quitting tobacco products is important.
  2. Find a workout partner.
    Physical activity gives you big health benefits. All adults should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. And working out with a friend has been shown to provide accountability and help you get your workouts in more regularly. Learn about ways to stay fit and active at Bronson Wellness Center in South Haven and Bronson Athletic Club in Kalamazoo.
  3. Stay out of the sun.
    Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. To minimize your risk, avoid tanning beds, wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or above, and stay inside when the sun is the strongest.
  4. Lower your body mass index.
    Experts suggest adults maintain a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 27.5. One way to lower your BMI is to eat more fruits and vegetables, and cut back on foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat. Try placing fruits and vegetables where they are visible and easy to reach. Learn more about the link between a healthy diet and cancer during this free Zoom discussion on April 20, led by Bronson Cancer Center's clinical dietitian, Jillian Bowen.
  5. Have regular medical check-ups.
    Having a healthcare provider you regularly see can be a big plus when it comes to managing your health. Also, you should conduct monthly self-exams for changes. Both can increase your chance of catching cancer early and stopping it in its tracks. Don’t have a Bronson primary care provider? Find one here.

Though there are some simple lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of cancer, there is no way to completely eliminate your risk - cancer can affect anybody. It is important know the common warning signs of cancer, and always pay attention to your own body and new, unexplained changes. If you suspect cancer, talk with your primary care provider. They can help guide you through necessary testing and refer you, if needed, to an oncologist. Don't have a primary care provider? Visit

High-Quality Cancer Care Close to Home

If you receive a cancer diagnosis, trust southwest Michigan’s most preferred healthcare system. Bronson Cancer Centers - located in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo - offer a comprehensive approach to care that surrounds with the expertise, technology, resources and positivity that you and your family need for your cancer journey. Learn more about Bronson's regional cancer program, including our nationally-recognized center in Battle Creek, at

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    Dr. Timothy Cox

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