Ways to Avoid Washington’s Leading Causes of Death

It’s happened to every one of us.

We’ve lost a loved one to cancer or heart disease. If you’re like me, you're trying to find ways to live as long as possible.

What are the main tips to stay healthy for decades to come?

* Becoming more physically active.

Don’t like cardio? Find ways to ignite the inspiration.

* Eating a healthy diet

* Getting screening tests for certain cancers and heart disease risk factors.

Make an appointment and talk with your doctor about which screen tests need to happen and how often. 

The State of Washington’s TWO Leading Causes of Death are Cancer and Heart Disease.

We give you tips on ways to avoid succumbing to these top two villains.

We also give you the other top causes of death in Washington at the bottom of this tip sheet.

Washington’s #1 Cause of Death: Cancer (via the CDC)

Tips to Avoid Cancer:

* Maintain a healthy weight

Being at a healthy weight will lower the risk of some types of cancer - such as breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney cancer.

Physical activity goes a long way.  Besides helping control your weight, physical activity on its own is seen to lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. (Mayoclinic.org)

* Limit your alcohol - remember moderation is key

Consuming alcohol increases your risk of various types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung, kidney, and liver. Drinking more alcohol increases your risk. (Mayoclinic.org)

* Sun Safety/Cover Your Skin/Avoid Midday Sun

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 30 - or higher. You need to use sunscreen even on cloudy days. Don’t skimp on it…use lots of sunscreen. I’ve read from several websites to apply sunscreen every two hours - and more often after swimming or sweating. (Mayoclinic.org)

* Avoiding Tobacco - Another word, Don’t smoke!

I have people near and dear to me who won’t stop this habit. Did you know smoking causes approximately 30 percent of all cancers and 90 percent of lung cancers? This is the most frightening statistic of all: About half of all smokers will die from a smoking-related disease, like cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive lung disease.  (National Library of Medicine)

* Eat More Broccoli

Now I know why my mother, grandma, and my wife always seemed to want me to eat fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies pack a powerful anti-cancer punch.


They’re high in nutrients and fiber, and low in fat. In addition to broccoli, try and consume more Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, watercress, or other cruciferous vegetables. All of the types we just listed protect your body against DNA damage that can turn cells cancerous. Also, look for colorful berries in your produce section. These tasty berries have cancer-fighting chemicals that prevent and protect your cells from damage. (WebMD.com)

* Eat a healthy diet

In addition to eating more fruits & vegetables, make sure you buy bread made of whole grains. Consume red meat and processed meat to a bare minimum. You’re also going to want to cut back on bad fats (saturated and trans fats.) There are “healthy fats” that aren’t bad such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. (Siteman Cancer Center)

* Be physically active & Exercise regularly

Regular exercise is so good for your health. It boots both your mood and your energy! It can also keep you at your target weight.  Adding some physical activity in your life can decrease your chance of serious diseases, including breast cancer. Experts say you should get 30 minutes of exercise per day - but some is better than none. (Siteman Cancer Center)

* Get Screening Tests Regularly 

'Doing regular self-exams and having screenings for cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, cervix, and breast — can raise the chances of finding cancer early. That's when treatment is most likely to succeed. Ask a healthcare provider about the best cancer screening schedule for you.' -Mayoclinic.org

Angela Waye Getty/ThinkStock
Angela Waye Getty/ThinkStock

Washington’s #2 Cause of Death: Heart Disease (via the CDC)

Ways to avoid heart disease: 

The tips for avoiding heart disease are not very different from the above info on avoiding cancer. 


  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Be more physically active
  • Keep to a healthy weight
  • Give up smoking
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption
  • Keep your blood pressure under control
  • Keep your diabetes under control
  • Take any prescribed medicine - If you're prescribed medicine, you must take it and follow the correct dosage. Do not stop taking your medicine without consulting a doctor first, as doing so is likely to make your symptoms worse and put your health at risk. (NHS.uk)


Washington’s Causes of Death, #3 through #10 (via the CDC)

3 - COVID-19 

4 - Accidents

5 - Alzheimer’s Disease

6 - Stroke

7 - Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

8 - Diabetes

9 - Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis

10 - Suicide

INFO: CDC, Siteman Cancer Center, NHS.uk, Mayo Clinic

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