Cancer is cancer in itself. It is the leading cause of death worldwide. In 2020, it accounted for 10 million deaths, with the most common cancers being breast, lung, colon, prostate, skin and stomach. With these unfortunate numbers, plus the growing global burden of cancer, prevention of the disease is one of the most significant health public health challenges of the 21stcentury.
However, studies show that up to 50 percent of cancer deaths and 50 percent of cancer cases are preventable, especially with the knowledge we have today. Prevention and early detection (usually done through MRI scans at private or government hospitals) are more important than ever. Both are also proven effective at lowering healthcare costs while prolonging your life.
Every day, you make choices that can impact your health. These choices can also spare you from cancer in the future. Instead of having to deal with the Big C tomorrow, why not make some healthier choices today?
Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Although making healthier selections for your meals doesn’t guarantee 100 percent cancer prevention, it reduces your risk.
Consider the following meal guidelines:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.Enrich your diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and other meals from plant sources, such as beans and whole grains. Why not try the Mediterranean diet? This diet, supplemented with mixed nuts and olive oil, can reduce your risk for some types of cancer, particularly breast cancer. People who follow a Mediterranean diet switch to healthier fats, such as olive oil and fish over butter and red meat respectively. As for the sweets, consider lessening your consumption of refined sugar. So for now, ditch the expensive Starbucks drinks.
- Limit your consumption of processed meats.Although eating processed hamburgers orhot dogsis great for your cravings, it’s bad for your health. Eating processed meat regularly increases your risk for cancer.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.The risk of different types of cancers – including cancer of the liver, kidney, lung, colon and breast – increases with the amount of alcohol you consume, as well as how long you’ve been drinking regularly.
Avoid Smoking at All Costs
Smoking is the primary culprit for many types of cancers. It has been linked to the cancer of the bladder, throat, mouth, lung, kidney and pancreas. Chewing tobacco may also increase your risk for cancer of the pancreas or oral cavity. Even if you don’t smoke, exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of lung cancer.
Deciding to stop smoking is a difficult choice for people who smoke but it is a necessary one, especially if you want to reduce your risk for cancer. If you need helpquitting, ask your doctor about strategies and products for quitting.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Be Physically Active
Maintaining a healthy weight may lower your risk of different types of cancer, which include kidney, prostate, breast, colon and lung.
Regular exercise also counts. Apart from helping control your weight, physical activity lowers your risk of colon and breast cancer. To enjoy substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity. If you want to mix things up, you can do a combination of vigorous and moderate activity.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. It is also one of the most preventable. Consider the following suggestions:
- Stay in the shade.When you’re outside, use an umbrella or stay in the shade, especially when the sun is too high. A hat or some sunglasses can also help.
- Avoid going out during midday.Stay out of the sun between 10 AM and 4PM, which is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Be generous with the sunscreen.Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even when the sun doesn’t shine. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. Apply a generous amount and reapply every two hours.
Cancer prevention requires protection from certain viruses. Get in touch with your doctor to schedule a vaccination appointment against:
- Humanpapillomavirus(HPV).This sexually transmitted virus leads to cervical and other genital cancers. It can also encourage the development of squamous cell cancers of the neck and head. The HPV vaccine is often recommended for boys and girls ages 11 and 12.
- Hepatitis B.This condition also increases your risk for liver cancer. A hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for people with sexually transmitted infections, sexually active adults with more than one partner, men who have sex with men and healthcare workers who are often exposed to body fluids or blood.
Cancer need not be a problem tomorrow if you prevent it today. Follow these recommended anti-cancer tips and maintain a healthy lifestyle.