By Dr. Sandeep Nayak
Cancer can occur in all living cells in the body and different cancer types have different natural history. Epidemiological studies have shown that 70-90% of all cancers are environmental. Lifestyle related factors are the most important and preventable among the environmental exposures.
One can reduce the risk of getting cancer by making positive lifestyle choices. In fact, many cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screening tests.
Consider these seven cancer prevention tips:
1. Don’t use tobacco
Saying no to tobacco is one of the most important health decisions you can make. It’s also an important part of cancer prevention. More than 70% of lung and oral (mouth) cancers are caused by tobacco.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans. Avoid obesity. Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-calorie foods, including refined sugars and fat from animal sources.
• Drink alcohol moderately (abstaining is better)
• Limit processed meats.
3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney. Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
4. Protect yourself from the sun
Skin cancer is commonly due to exposure to sun — and one of the most preventable. Try these tips:
• Avoid midday sun
• Stay in the shade
5. Get immunized
Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Cervical cancer can be prevented to a great extent by human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.
6. Avoid risky behaviours
Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you have sex. Hepatitis B and HIV are both linked to cancers.
7. Get regular medical care
Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.