In many cases, cancer appears to attack randomly. Why some people get it and others don't remains mostly a mystery. Still, the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about one-quarter to one-third of all cancer cases could be eliminated with dietary changes and increased physical activity. Translation: Your actions can have a real effect on your health. But you don't have to overhaul your life to take a stand against cancer. Minor changes can have a major impact. Start with these:

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Swap Sitting All Day for Long Walks
Abundant research has shown that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of certain cancers, and when it comes to breast and lung cancer, two recent studies presented this year at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting clearly show why you should really get moving. In a study of more than 130,000 postmenopausal women, those who spent more time exercising were less likely to develop lung cancer than their inactive sisters. Benefits were seen even among smokers. Exercise also seems to influence breast cancer risk: Researchers in France found that women who were the most physically active were 12 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who moved the least.

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Swap Decaf for Caffeinated Coffee or Tea
Java lovers, rejoice: Downing five or more cups of caffeinated coffee or tea daily may slash your brain cancer risk by roughly 40 percent in some cases, according to a Harvard-led study. Caffeine decreases blood flow to the brain and, as a result, may inhibit tumor growth.

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Swap Broccoli for Broccoli Sprouts
Sick of munching on bland florets? Try adding their seedlings to your next meal. Broccoli sprouts (three- or four-day-old broccoli plants that closely resemble alfalfa sprouts) produce ten to 100 times more sulforaphane, a compound that may limit the growth of cancerous tumors, than full-grown broccoli. Plus, new lab research from the University of Pittsburgh found that giving broccoli sprout extract to animals prone to oral cancer reduced the occurrence of the disease. When the extract was given to a small group of humans, promising changes were noticed in the lining of the mouth.

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Swap Sleeping In for Waking Early
A recent study in the journal Cancer Causes & Control suggests that women who reported sleeping longer than ten hours on a regular basis may have an elevated risk for certain cancers. In fact, the researchers found that peri- and postmenopausal super-sleepers were 30 percent more likely to develop estrogen-related cancers, including endometrial, ovarian and breast cancers. Aim to clock no more than nine hours a night, and don't hit snooze!


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