Cancer Prevention Tips for Laborers & Their Families

Cancer is a serious health issue for everyone. Laborers have a 13% higher risk of dying from cancer than the general population. Here are 10 tips the American Cancer Society says you can do to help reduce your cancer risk, and most likely, make you feel better.

1. Don't use tobacco! Smoking is the biggest cancer risk and most preventable cause of death in North America. Lung cancer is a particular problem with Laborers. Smoking is a health risk to everyone near you. Pregnant women pass the risk on to their babies. Use of smokeless tobacco also causes cancer.

2. Get some exercise! Walking every day helps keep your weight down. Being overweight is another cancer risk factor. Check with your doctor to begin an exercise program.

3. Eat a varied diet! A diet with different kinds of foods, eaten sensibly, offers the best hope for lowering the risk of cancer.

4. Eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits every day! Choose vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A and C, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, green peppers, oranges, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and watermelon.

5. Eat more high-fiber foods! Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, dried beans, and whole grains (bread, cereals, pasta, and rice). Eat at least six servings from the whole grains group daily. Check food labels for how much fiber is in each. One serving is:

  • 1/2 cup of fruit
  • 3/4 cup of juice
  • 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup of leafy vegetables
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 ounce of dry cereal
  • 1/1 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta


6. Trim fat from your diet! Eat lean meats, skinned chicken or turkey, and fish. Cut down on butter, margarine, fried foods, and rich desserts. Drink low-fat milk; eat low fat cheese.

7. Cut down on foods like ham, bacon, bologna, and hot dogs! These smoked or cured meats have a chemical in them that will add to your risk of cancer.

8. Don't drink alcohol! If you do, limit yourself to one or two drinks a day. Alcohol combined with tobacco is especially dangerous.

9. Stay out of the sun! Avoid sun exposure, especially 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cover up by wearing a hat and using sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Do not use sunlamps or tanning parlors. If you have skin sores that do not heal or see changes in a mole, consult your physician.

10. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE). If you work with harmful chemicals or fibers like asbestos, wear the right clothes and equipment.

Source: American Cancer Society, Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America