We just passed this year’s World Cancer Day.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people diagnosed with cancer increased by almost 10 million in the past two decades. Of the newly diagnosed cancers, breast cancer is the most common (12 percent), followed by lung cancer (11 percent), colorectal cancer (10 percent) and prostate cancer (7 percent).
By 2040, it has been predicted that the number of newly diagnosed cases of cancer will be nearly 50 percent higher than in 2020, reports WHO. Several cancers can be cured if they are diagnosed on time and treated properly.
The word “cancer” can bring chills to many of us as most of us know someone who is diagnosed with it, has overcome it or lost someone to it. But it is important to remember that though there may not be a cure it is treatable and, to a large extent, preventable. Vaccination can help prevent certain cancers like cervical cancer (HPV vaccine) and liver cancer (hepatitis B). Early detection is also important.
WHO shared some of these lifestyle measures that could keep you cancer free:
The American Cancer Society says that being regular at exercise can reduce the risk of 13 kinds of cancer including that of oesophagus, liver, stomach, kidneys, myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, head and neck, rectum, bladder and lungs. Make sure that you do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 90 minutes of high intensity exercise every week. Apart from exercising regularly, it is also important to stay physically active throughout the day and prevent long hours of sitting.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy and nourishing diet can take you a long way in terms of building immunity and being cancer and disease-free. Avoid processed and packaged foods and stick to naturally grown, organic and homemade foods most of the time. Your diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Avoid direct sunlight for long periods of time
Exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun can result in early ageing of the skin and can also increase the risk of skin cancer. The National Cancer Institute instructs that sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am to 4 pm. They can go through light clothing, windshields, windows and clouds. They can be reflected by sand, water, snow, ice and pavement. Avoid spending too much time in the sun and do not forget to apply sunscreen.
Do not use tobacco
Tobacco use is considered to be a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer, according to statistics. Regular use of tobacco or being exposed to secondhand smoke can increase risk of cancer. Cancers of Lung, larynx, mouth, throat, oesophagus, kidney, liver, stomach, colon, pancreas, rectum and cervix can be caused by use of tobacco. Quit smoking and tobacco use in all forms in order to reduce the risk of cancer.
Lesser consumption of alcohol
The less alcohol you drink, the lower is your risk of cancer. Excessive intake of alcohol on a regular basis can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth and throat, oesophagus, colon and rectum, liver and breast (in women), according to studies. All kinds of alcoholic drinks, including cocktails, red wine and white wine in large quantities, are linked to cancer. The more you drink, the higher is your risk of cancer.
All of these lifestyle measures can together reduce your risk of developing cancer and may even help manage it. Together let’s beat cancer.