Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and research has shown that our modern-day lifestyle has contributed to these alarming statistics. Cancer is the uncontrolled division and multiplication of cells and often its spreads into surrounding tissues. Although some forms of cancer are more common, no organ is immune to this kind of unexpected and uncontrolled cell division.
According to health experts, both endogenous and exogenous factors can lead to cancer. We might have very little control over endogenous factors such as age and genetics. However, there is much we can do about exogenous factors that include environmental and lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, and pollutants.
What you need to know about cancer
Research has proven that your lifestyle can lead to cancer. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, bad diet, and physical inactivity are some of the reasons for this. For instance, almost 40 percent of lung cancer is due to smoking; liver damage is often a result of excessive alcohol intake.
In fact, researchers believe half of all cancers in industrially developed and affluent societies can be avoided by giving up smoking, giving up or at least reducing alcohol, reducing weight, and leading a physically active life alongside a healthy diet.
To mark February 4 — World Cancer Awareness Day — we take a look at good habits that can help prevent cancer.
Maintain a healthy weight
The foremost recommendation by health experts is to maintain body weight within a recommended range as obesity can lead to cancer. The World Health Organisation defines healthy weight in terms of your BMI (Basal Metabolic Index) which must stay within the 18.5–24.9 range. The Statista Research studies conducted in the UAE from 2007 to 2016 indicates that around 29 percent of the population is overweight. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 13 cancers are associated with being overweight and obese. These include cancers of the thyroid, breast, gall bladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus, colon, and rectum.
“Walk more and sit less’’ is a very common piece of advice from doctors. That’s because physical activity influences several systems of the body such as its immune response, metabolic rate, and endocrinology. It also helps you maintain your weight. So let’s resolve to being more active every day and limiting our sedentary behavior.
Include more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in your diet. Fresh leaves and plant-based foods may provide the nutrients necessary for cells to prevent uncontrolled replication. Of course, just like exercise, a healthy diet contributes to regulating weight gain.
Fiber-rich foods help limit the causes of colorectal cancer. Reduce the consumption of fast food, sugars, and processed foods. Not only are these less nutritious but they lead to obesity in due course.
Limit Red and Processed Meat
Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, and mutton, while processed meat includes ham, bacon, salami, and sausages.
Meat is rich in protein and micronutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. However, they are also rich in saturated fats and trans fats, often linked to heart disease. Processed meat contains more chemicals and additives, and these are linked to cancers such as colorectal cancer. Hence try and limit your consumption of these meats. Fish, eggs, and poultry are considered safer options.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
The evidence is strong and convincing that the risk of certain cancers i.e., cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectum, breast, and stomach are associated with drinking. So although our modern lifestyle sets great store on drinking, try and limit those pegs.
Why not adopt these habits and let them be a late new year resolution. Follow a healthy lifestyle and live a happy life. Never allow cancer to conquer your healthy body. Practice yoga for a healthy life.