The festive season is over and soon we would be forced to ease back into our lives. However, before we do so, it is important that we are conscious about our lifestyle habits and reduce the risk of diseases like cancer to ourselves and our family.
All cancer is a result of damage or genetic mutations in a person’s DNA. Some cases of cancer are out of our control, determined by genetic defects and predispositions passed down from one generation to the next, or spurred by genetic changes we undergo through our lifetimes.
But we also know that breathing in certain substances, eating specific things, and even using some kinds of plastics ups the risk of developing some deadly cancers. The vast majority of most cancer symptoms are caused by nonmalignant disorders, and cancers can produce symptoms that aren’t exactly obvious. Early diagnosis of cancer is important but you can also go further and reduce the risk of getting cancer altogether. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate that up to 75% of cancer deaths can be prevented.
Preventive Measures Against Cancer
- Try to avoid all forms of tobacco, including second hand smoke.
- Eat properly. Reduce your consumption of saturated fat and red meat, which may increase the risk of colon cancer and a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Try to maintain an average weight as obesity increases the risk of many types of cancer.
- If you choose to drink, limit yourself to an average of one drink a day. Excess alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus (food pipe), liver, and colon; it also increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Smoking increases the risk of many alcohol-induced malignancies.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. Protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, which increases the risk of melanomas and other skin cancers.
- Avoid exposure to industrial and environmental toxins such as asbestos fibers, benzene, aromatic amines, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
- Avoid infections that contribute to cancer, including hepatitis viruses, HIV, and the human papillomavirus. Many are transmitted sexually or through contaminated needles.
- Make quality sleep a priority. Admittedly, the evidence linking sleep to cancer is not strong. But poor and insufficient sleep increases is associated with weight gain, which is a cancer risk factor.
By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and sharing these tips with your loved ones, you are one step closer to a healthier, happier, more fulfilled life.