Yet, at the same time, there’s a positive message in the middle of the depressing numbers. Both heart disease and cancer are very preventable, which offers wonderful opportunities to make gains against the diseases. Approximately three quarters of heart disease and half of cancers could be avoided with overall healthy lifestyles. And most of the steps that lower the risk of one, also lower the risk of the other.
Shared health behaviors that can lower the risk of both heart disease and cancer, include:
- Avoiding tobacco (and secondhand smoke)
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Being physically active
- Eating a healthy diet – rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and low in unhealthy fats and red/processed meat
- Getting screening tests, for certain cancers and heart disease risk factors – Talk with a doctor about which apply to you
- Considering taking a daily low-dose aspirin, if age 50 – 69 – But talk with a doctor first
- Add one more piece of fruit to your lunch a few days a week.
- Buy that cereal that has whole gains as a first ingredient.
- Search for some new meatless recipes to try.
- Visit smokefree.gov for information about quitting smoking.
- Tell yourself you’re going to do something physically active every day — no matter how small.
- Call your clinic or doctor’s office to see if you’re up-to-date on recommended health screenings and make an appoint to get caught up if you’re not.
For more tips on making healthy changes, see 8IGHT WAYS to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer. For personalized prevention plans and estimate of your risk of cancer, heart disease, and other conditions, see Your Disease Risk.