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Learn How to Avoid Cancer As Much As Possible

icon-blog By -Dr. Kanika Sharma
icon-blog By -January 11, 2024
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Learn How to Avoid Cancer As Much As Possible

The definition of prevention is the safeguarding of health through individual and collective action. These initiatives entail understanding the impact of cancer, pinpointing its origins, and assessing and executing preventive measures. Traditionally, cancer prevention research has concentrated on diminishing the occurrence of cancer and lowering cancer-related fatalities. Initially, preventive measures targeted synthesized chemicals (such as retinoids and tamoxifen) and natural compounds (like β-carotene and omega-3 fish oil). In recent times, the scope has expanded to encompass interventions geared towards addressing the pre-disease stage or those designed to postpone carcinogenesis (process of conversion of normal cells into cancerous ones).

Initially, prevention efforts need to exert a substantial influence at the individual level before translating into a collective benefit at the population level. This perspective underscores the idea that population health is essentially the combined health experiences of individuals.

Cancer susceptibility is shaped by a combination of genetic and environmental elements, encompassing behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental exposure. An individual's risk is the amalgamation of these diverse factors, though quantifying the impact magnitude of a single factor proves challenging. Various studies have indicated that genes play roles in driving cancer initiation and progression. The complexity intensifies with the introduction of new genetic events. These complex genetic signatures may also be influenced by environmental exposure.

A study conducted in the United Kingdom indicated that environmental factors like tobacco consumption and occupational exposure, contributes to approximately 60,800 and 11,500 cancer cases annually, respectively. However, it is challenging to accurately determine the true impact of individual factors on overall cancer risk.

How can one reduce their risk of developing cancer? There's no shortage of suggestions. However, recommendations from different studies can conflict with one another. Information on cancer prevention is still being developed. It is widely acknowledged, nevertheless, that lifestyle decisions have an impact on cancer risk. To help prevent cancer, think about these lifestyle suggestions.

Cancer Prevention Strategies

Various strategies for prevention and early detection have been identified to contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence, encompassing primary, secondary, and tertiary processes. 

Primary cancer prevention

It entails directly avoiding or minimizing exposure to known carcinogenic factors. Examples include tobacco cessation, dietary changes (such as reducing red meat consumption and limiting fatty foods), and increased physical activity. Primary prevention methods involve modifying lifestyle factors associated with the risk of developing cancer (such as exercise, tobacco cessation, and nutritional supplements) and implementing protective therapeutics (like vaccination) with proven long-term efficacy for cancer prevention.

Secondary prevention

It aims to impede, inhibit, or reverse carcinogenesis. These methods often revolve around the early detection, treatment, or removal of precancerous lesions, which will be further detailed in the following section. 

Tertiary prevention

It is initiated after a cancer diagnosis to enhance the quality of life and survivorship. The ultimate objective of early detection and cancer prevention is to diminish, reverse, or eliminate an individual's risk of developing and succumbing to cancer.

Tips to stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer Causing Risk Factors

1. Quit Tobacco

Numerous cancers, including those of the lung, mouth, voice box, throat, pancreas, cervix, bladder, and kidney, have been associated with smoking. The probability of lung cancer may rise even just by being near secondhand tobacco smoke. But smoking isn't the only bad habit. There is evidence connecting chewing tobacco to throat, pancreatic, and mouth cancer.

Don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco. Avoiding tobacco use or making the decision to give it up is a key step in the fight against cancer. Consult a healthcare professional for information on stop-smoking aids and other methods of quitting tobacco use.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet may lower the risk of cancer, even though it doesn't ensure the prevention of cancer completely.  Following are the tips:

  • Consume a lot of fruits and veggies. Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods like beans and whole grains. Eat less high-calorie foods to become healthier and leaner. Limit your intake of animal-based fat and refined sugars.
  • If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Alcohol consumption raises the risk of several cancers, including liver, kidney, colon, breast, and lung cancers. The risk rises with increased drinking. So, limit alcohol and Smoking – zero is the best.
  • Limit your intake of processed meats. Eating processed meat may slightly increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an organization affiliated with the World Health Organisation.
  • A Mediterranean diet rich in mixed nuts and extra-virgin olive oil may lower the risk of breast cancer in certain people. The majority of the foods in the Mediterranean diet are plant-based and include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Dieters who adhere to the Mediterranean diet prefer healthy fats like olive oil rather than butter. They consume fish rather than red meat.

3. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly

Maintaining an appropriate weight may help reduce the possibility of some cancers. These include kidney, colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancers. Exercise is also important. Physical activity by itself may reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer in addition to aiding in losing weight. 
Any sort of workout is good for your health. However, aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of intense aerobic activity for the greatest benefits. You can mix hard and moderate exercise. Generally speaking, try to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

4. Protect yourself from the sun and avoid tanning beds

One of the most prevalent and easily preventable types of cancer is skin cancer. Following suggestions can help in preventing skin cancer:

  • Steer clear of the midday sun. When the sun is at its strongest, which is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., avoid being in the sun.
  • Remain in the shadows. Try to remain in the shade whenever you can when you're outside. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses can protect your skin  from the sun.
  • Put on some skin cover. Put on clothes that will expose the least amount of skin. Put on some shades and a head covering. Don bright or somber hues. More solar radiation is reflected by them than by pastels or bleached cotton.

5. Ensure your timely vaccinations

Preventing specific viral infections can aid in cancer prevention. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections. Speak with a medical professional about receiving a vaccination against:

  • Hepatitis B: Liver cancer risk may rise as a result of hepatitis B. Adults who have multiple sexual partners, those who have one partner who have multiple partners, and those who have STDs are at high risk of contracting hepatitis B.
  • Injecting illegal drugs puts oneself and others at risk: Men who have sex with other men and public safety or health workers who may come into contact with infected blood or bodily fluids are also at risk.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): It is a virus that spreads through sexual contact that can cause squamous cell cancers of the head and neck, as well as cervical cancer and other genital cancers. For both boys and girls, the HPV vaccine is advised for ages eleven and twelve. The Gardasil 9 vaccine has been approved for males and females aged 9 to 45 years by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

6. Steer clear of risky behaviors

Refraining from high-risk behaviors that may result in infections and raise the risk of cancer is another useful strategy for preventing cancer such as:

  • Have safe sexual relations: Use a condom and keep the number of sexual partners to a minimum. The likelihood of contracting an STD, such as HIV or HPV, increases with the number of sexual partners experienced during one's lifetime.
  • Individuals living with HIV/AIDS are more susceptible to lung, liver, and anus cancer. The most common link between HPV and cervical cancer is that it may raise the risk of cancers of the anus, penis, throat, vulva, and vagina respectively.
  • Avoid sharing needles: Sharing needles when injecting drugs increases the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, all of which raise the possibility of liver cancer. Seek expert assistance if you're worried about drug abuse or addiction.

7. Avail medical care regularly and get screening tests

The likelihood of recognising cancer early is increased by routinely performing self-examinations and undergoing screenings for cancers, including those of the skin, colon, cervix, and breast. Treatment has the best chance of working at that point. What is the ideal schedule for you to undergo cancer screenings? Ask your healthcare provider.

FAQs

How can we prevent 100% cancer?

Cancer cannot be prevented 100% because many unknown and idiopathic factors are associated with its occurrence. However, lifestyle modifications like quitting tobacco & alcohol, maintaining healthy weight, and many more can help in lowering risk of getting cancer.

Will cancer be cured?
Although cancer can't be treated completely, this is not how oncologists or other cancer specialists look at the success of cancer treatment. They refer to it as complete remission, allowing for the fact that cancers can recur. Although cancers can recur, they accept that it is in complete remission.

How do people fight cancer?

Cancer can be treated via surgery (A medical procedure in which cancerous tissue is removed), chemotherapy (special drugs that shrink or eliminate cancer cells that are invisible to the human eye), and radiation therapy (use of X-ray-like high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells).

Can you prevent cancer from happening?

By adopting healthy lifestyle practices, such as maintaining a healthy weight, abstaining from tobacco, consuming less alcohol, and safeguarding your skin, you can lower your chance of developing cancer.

How does cancer start?

Certain alterations to genes, the fundamental building blocks of heredity, result in initiation and progression of cancer.

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