Do you know that according to the Cancer Registry Programme of Indian Council of Medical Research, more than 1300 Indians die every day due to cancer?
Now, what can you do to prevent being the next victim? To begin with, get regular checkups and visit for a Screening Test that can help in detecting cancer. Screening tests help in detecting malignancies in their initial stages and help you know their treatment as well.
Early diagnosis is essential, but can you go even better? Can you reduce the risk of cancer in the first place?
Let us walk through the article, explaining the causes of Cancer and prevention of Cancer –
The Causes of Cancer –
There is no single cause for cancer. Scientist believes that there are a combination of many factors together that leads to cancer. The factors involved are genetic, environmental, or personal habits of an individual.
The various causes of cancer are –
1. Lifestyle Factors – Smoking, alcohol, a high-fat diet, and eating highly processed foods are examples of lifestyle choices that can cause cancer.
2. Family History and Genetics – It is possible that cancer can also be inherited from any family member. Hence, it is important to check with an oncologist if any of your close relatives are suffering from cancer at an early age.
3. Processed meat – Consuming processed meat (ham, bacon, salami, and frankfurts) causes bowel cancer and it is classified as a Class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Also, red meat such as beef, lamb, and pork can also cause cancer.
4. Exposure to certain viruses – HIV and Epstein Barr virus, causes AIDS and have been linked to increased risk of cancer such as Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The virus changes a cell and then that cell reproduces another cell, and eventually, these alterations become a cancer cell that reproduces more cancer cells.
5. Environmental Exposures – Fertilizers and pesticides have been linked to cancers. Also, according to a study, outdoor pollution also causes lung cancer and is also linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. Sometimes, the microplastic ingested by fish can be toxic and can be a carcinogenic element.
6. Some genetic disorders – Wiskott-Aldrich and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome are known to change the immune system. The immune system in our body protects our body from infection and diseases. The bone marrow produces cells that mature and function as part of the immune system. But sometimes, the cells in the bone marrow can become damaged or defective, so when they reproduce more cells, they end up making abnormal or cancer cells. The cause of the defect in the cell could be a genetic defect or a virus.
If you want to prevent cancer, you need to make wise lifestyle choices. Consider these cancer-prevention tips –
1. Don’t use tobacco
Using tobacco can be linked to various types of cancer such as lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix, and kidney. Chewing tobacco has been linked to the oral cavity and pancreas.
Avoiding tobacco or deciding to stop using it is a crucial part of cancer prevention. If you want to quit smoking, you can work on strategies for quitting.
2. Avoid secondhand and third-hand smoking – Second-hand smoke is the smoke from burning tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. It is the smoke that is exhaled by the person smoking. Whereas, third-hand smoke is residual nicotine and other chemicals left on the indoor surface by tobacco smoke.
Second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke is also a significant health concern and it increases the risk of cancer.
3. Healthy Diet
You need to have a good selection of your meal for cancer prevention. Consider these tips –
• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – It is important to eat vegetables and foods from plant sources such as whole grains and beans. You should also consume a raw vegetarian diet since it will help you to prevent cancer.
Eat nuts – Eating tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios may help in preventing cancer. The nuts contain cancer-fighting polyphenols which help in boosting the immune system to fight cancer.
They also have healthy Omega-3 fatty acids which can prevent cancer by cutting its blood supply. It is advised to consume two small handfuls of tree nuts per week.
• Limit the intake of processed meats – Eating large amounts of processed meat can increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Studies have shown that women who eat a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts have a reduced risk of breast cancer. The diet focuses on plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. People who follow a Mediterranean diet choose healthy fats, such as olive oil, butter and fish instead of red meat.
4. Healthy weight and physically active
Maintaining a healthy weight will lower the risk of cancer such as breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney.
You need to be physically active as well. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast and colon cancer.
5. Protect yourself from the sun – Skin cancer is one of the common types of cancer, and it is preventable. You can try these tips –
• Avoid direct sun – Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m and 4 p.m., when the sun rays are the strongest.
• Stay in the shade – When you are outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Hats and sunglasses also help.
• Cover exposed area – Wear tight woven, loose-fitting clothing that covers your skin as much as possible. You can wear bright or dark colours which reflect ultraviolet radiation than pastels.
• Use a good sunscreen – Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply after every two hours or more often.
6. Get vaccinated – Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. It is essential to stay in touch with your doctor about vaccination against –
• Hepatitis B – Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for sure adults who are sexually active but not in a manually monogamous relationship.
• Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genetic cancer if head and neck. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 and 12.
7. Avoid risky behaviour – Another effective cancer prevention is to avoid risky behaviour which can increase the risk of cancer –
• Practise safe sex – Limit your number of sexual partners and always use a condom when you have sex. The more sexual partners, it is more likely that you might fall in the trap of sexually transmitted infections – such as HIV or HPV.
• Don’t share needles – Sharing needles with people who use intravenous drugs can lead to HIV as well as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, which can increase the risk of liver cancer.
8. Get regular medical checkups – Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancer can increase your chances of discovering cancer early when treatment is most likely to be successful.
You can consult your doctor about the best screening schedule for you.
These lifestyle changes will yield cancer, preventing benefits.
The above tips can help you fight cancer. We understand that just as cancer affects your physical health, it can also make you emotionally weak. It can make existing feels more intense. Let us pledge to make a contribution to Cancer Free India.