Cancer is a major causes of mortality around the world. Approximately 12 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed and caused more than 7 million deaths worldwide in 2008. A major study from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found that an estimated 39% of the 12 cancer cases could be prevented by improving the lifestyle choices.
Previous studies have suggested that approximately 43 per cent of bowel cancer cases and 42 per cent of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented if people ate more healthily, did regular exercise, maintained a suitable weight and not smoking. Professor Martin Wiseman, project director of the report, also said: “On a global level every year, there are millions of cancer cases that could have been prevented and this is why we need to act now before the situation gets even worse.
If so, why don’t you start a healthy lifestyle to reduce your chances of experiencing this life altering disease? Follow these 10 simple tips for the prevention of cancer:
1. Healthy eating
• Limit consumption of red meats (including beef, pork, and lamb) and avoid processed meats
• Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes (such as beans)
• Cut down on saturated fat and sugar. saturated fat - having too much can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the chance of developing heart disease
• Limit consumption of salty foods and food processed with salt (sodium)
• Avoid coffee and tea (except green tea which has cancer-fighting properties) which have high caffeine
2. Limit alcohol intake – consumption of alcohol not only increases the risk of certain types of cancer, it contributes to overall poor health and obesity in adults. Alcohol intake should be kept to a minimum, since men who consume 2 or more alcoholic drinks a day are at a greater risk for cancer, as are women who have 1 or more alcoholic drinks per day.
3. No smoking – avoid cigarette smoke at all costs; both first and second hand smoke increase your risk of contracting many types of cancers that relate to cigarette smoking, and makes you more susceptible to cancers that are not caused by the unhealthy habit.
4 A routine of regular physical activity. Physical activity help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Physical activity affects cancer risk indirectly, through its role in preventing overweight and obesity, decreasing exposure of breast tissue to oestrogen, and affecting cancers of the colon, breast and other sites by improving energy metabolism. The American Cancer Society recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) on 5 or more days of the week for adults and at least an hour every day for children and teens.
5. For mother: exclusively breastfeed their babies for up to six months. According to research breastfed babies have less chances of getting cancer and for the breast feeding mothers the chance of getting breast cancer are much less.
6 Be happy, relax and enjoy life. When you worry and under pressure you are more likely to be a victim of cancer. For those who are always under pressure their immune systems are less active.
7. Try to be a healthy weight. It’s not a good idea to be either underweight or overweight. Being overweight can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. Being underweight could also affect your health.
8. Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer It’s not that supplements are bad — they may be “valuable” apart from cancer prevention, but there isn’t evidence that they protect against cancer, except for vitamin D.
9. Be aware of affects of the sun. Sun exposure can cause skin cancer. Many seniors believe that after years of sun exposure, they no longer require protection from the sun. Proper sun protection at any age is important for cancer prevention. Children, older and younger adults should wear sunscreen during time spent in the sun, protective eyewear (UV sunglasses), and head coverings like hats. It’s also important that individuals remain aware of any changes to their skin, like moles or other marks, and discuss any changes to skin conditions with a doctor immediately.
10. Know your families history – Knowledge plays a major role in cancer prevention. Understanding your family history with cancer can help your doctor make decisions relating to testing and screening for cancer. Many types of cancer are genetic, so it’s important to understand your family risk so you can make informed healthcare decisions.
In short, many cases of cancer are thought to be preventable, by making smart lifestyle choices. Top priorities are avoiding tobacco, eating a healthful and varied diet and staying physically active, minimal sun exposure, medical screening and regular self examination.