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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Ten Simple Rules That Will Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer

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Cancer is one of the diseases that Americans fear most. Everyone knows those affected in their circle of friends or acquaintances. 

The good news: if you follow a few simple rules, you can significantly reduce your risk of cancer.

Experts estimate that up to 50 percent of all cancers are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. That means: everyone can do something to prevent it.

Cancer experts from all over the world have created the so-called Cancer Code for this purpose. 

Of course, if you follow these ten anti-cancer rules, there is no guarantee you won’t die of a tumour. But you lower your risk of cancer many times over.

Don’t smoke

The number one risk factor is and will remain tobacco smoke. It is responsible for 19 per cent of all people who are diagnosed with cancer each year. The countless carcinogenic substances not only increase the risk of lung cancer. With every cigarette, the risk of other tumors in the mouth and throat, stomach or esophagus, pancreas, urinary bladder, kidney increases.

Passive smokers are similarly at risk, so a smoke-free environment should be important.

By the way, it is definitely worth becoming a non-smoker: the body can repair damage. For example, the risk of lung cancer drops by half after five years of quitting smoking.

Avoid being overweight

The risk factor of being overweight is almost as serious as smoking. Experts consider it to be proven that an increased body fat percentage increases the risk of at least eleven types of cancer. According to their estimates, around seven percent of all new cancer cases in the US will be attributable to obesity.

Obese people increase their risk of colon cancer, esophageal cancer and breast cancer in particular. The reason for this is the increased release of the hormones insulin and leptin, which promote tumor cell growth.

Exercise daily

Often the extra pounds come from lack of exercise. Overall, scientists estimate that this caused six percent of new cancer cases.

Get up from the couch or office chair – preferably every 30 minutes: physical activity or exercise has been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer, and probably breast and uterine cancer.

The Code recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity. What makes things easier: housework or gardening also count.

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables

Scientists estimate around eight per cent of all new cancer cases can be traced back to unhealthy eating habits. Five a day – this recommendation from the World Nutrition Society, which advises us to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables, is also a simple anti-cancer rule.

Avoid heavily processed meat and sausage products

Sausage as well as heavily processed and red meat have been on the list of carcinogenic substances since 2015. The scientists at the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer – IARC, therefore, advise eating less of it in order to reduce the risk of cancer. 

They derive the nutritional recommendations of 300 to 600 grams of meat and sausage per week from observational studies. 

For orientation: A medium-sized steak weighs 250 grams.

In summary, this means for nutrition:

  • Eat at least 400 grams of legumes, fruits, and vegetables every day.
  • Eat around 30 grams of fiber a day.
  • Limit your diet with high calorie foods (high in fat or sugar).
  • Avoid sugary drinks and foods rich in salt. They shouldn’t contain more than 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams. You shouldn’t eat more than five to six grams of salt a day.
  • Eat less than 500 grams of red meat per week.
  • Avoid processed meat such as sausage products.

Drink little alcohol

Two drinks a day for men, one drink for women: 20 grams or 10 grams of pure alcohol as a guideline when it comes to alcohol. 

Those who drink alcohol regularly not only increase their risk of liver cancer but also of all types of digestive tract tumors. This is probably due to different breakdown products of alcohol.

Protect yourself from the sun

UV rays, as well as tobacco smoke and heavily processed meat, fall into category 1 of the carcinogenic substances. For skin cancer, the sun is the clear main risk factor that you can easily avoid. So always protect yourself with a sufficient sun protection factor. This is especially important for children.

Since all UV rays are equally harmful, you should also avoid the solarium.

Avoid carcinogenic substances

There is a lot in the air. Just like the environmental risk factors radon, fine dust or ionizing radiation such as those generated during medical examinations. Environmental pollutants can cause tumors in the lungs, bladder or skin.

Some factors are not always influenced by the individual. Nevertheless, the following applies: Avoid long walks if the fine dust values ​​are high in your city and ask critically during X-ray examinations whether they are really necessary. 

When it comes to radon, ventilation helps a lot.

Get yourself and your children vaccinated against hepatitis B and HPV

Liver cell cancer often develops after infection with hepatitis B or C – especially in children. People with these viruses have hepatitis (inflamed liver). If the infection lasts a long time, it can permanently damage your liver, called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer. 

This virus can infect your skin or mucous membranes. Sometimes it causes genital warts. You can catch HPV through sexual activity, and most sexually active people have at least one HPV infection during their lifetime. Usually, your immune system will get rid of the infection, but sometimes HPV can cause cervical cancer. It also can cause some head and neck cancers, like throat cancer.

Especially for women: breastfeed and be careful with hormonal supplements

If you will become a mother, experts recommend breastfeeding the child – can also reduce your risk of breast cancer. For later: Be cautious about hormone replacement therapy during menopause, as it increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true for estrogen-progestin combination products.

It is similar to the pill. The hormones estrogen and progestin may increase the risk of developing breast, cervical and liver cancer. At the same time, they lower it for cancer of the uterine body and ovarian cancer.

In general, early detection increases the chances of recovery

There is more than anyone can do beyond a sensible lifestyle: You should make regular check-ups on your calendar for some types of cancer: colon cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer.

The following applies to all types of tumors: the earlier they are recognized and treated, the greater the chances of recovery.

Image Credit: Getty

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