Cancer remains one of the major killing diseases across the globe. Considered a terminal ailment, the news that some acquaintance has been diagnosed with cancer is always a shocker to us. However, medical experts’ estimates show that up to 40% of cancer cases can be prevented by making lifestyle changes as well as changes to the environment. Considering that up to 65% of cancer cases result from exposure to risk factors related to our lifestyles and environment, we can conclude that the same percentage is theoretically preventable.
So, how can cancer be prevented?
Cancer prevention is simply about limiting exposure to the risk factors. While a zero risk is unattainable, it is possible to act on the risks in such a manner that one’s health is preserved to the extent feasible. The major risk factors of cancer are tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, and polluted environment.
Smoking is a preventable risk factor. According to the latest WHO report, the habit causes up to 25% of cancer cases annually. As a matter of fact, more than one-fifth of cancer deaths are attributed to smoking. Nearly 70% of lung cancer cases are traceable to smoking alone.
It has been proven that passive smoking can also cause lung cancer in non-smoking people. The smokeless uses of tobacco (chewing and snuffing) are dangerous too and can cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas.
Lifestyle and dietary changes
Changing your eating habits is another important tool in the fight against cancer. Many types of cancer are linked to overweight/obesity. Well-planned diets can go a long way in reducing the risk of cancer. As a matter of fact, some foods such as red meat, when consumed in excess can notably increase the risk of cancer. In essence, eating habits play a central role in cancer prevention.
Regular physical exercise and maintenance of normal body weight combined with good eating habits, significantly lowers cancer risks.
Lower alcohol consumption
Alcohol is classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It is estimated that in 2015, more than 15,000 cancer cases were attributable to alcohol. Consumption of too much alcohol increases the chances of one suffering from cancer, especially cancer of the digestive system organs. To effectively reduce this risk, it is recommended to limit the volume and frequency of alcohol consumption. As researchers presume, it takes years after one stops consuming alcohol for this risk to diminish.
In general, with just a few changes in lifestyle, cancer can be prevented. Regular physical exercise, good diet, no smoking as well as reduced alcohol consumption are just a few but very efficient preventive measures one can do to lower the chances of manifesting cancer.