World Cancer Day 2020: 50% Cancer Cases Are Preventable, Says Expert; Know Some Cancer Prevention Tips
World Cancer Day 2020: Around 90% of the cancers are caused due to environmental or lifestyle factors. Only about 5-10% cancers are genetic! One can reduce cancer risk with right preventive measures. Here are some expert guidelines on cancer prevention you must not miss.
World Cancer Day: Almost 50% cancer cases are preventable with healthy practices
- Cancer occurs due to the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells
- World Cancer day falls on February 4 each year
- Tobacco consumption is one of the leading causes of cancer
Cancer has become quite common nowadays. We all know someone personally, in the family, extended relatives, friends, acquaintances to be struck and then battling with it. Did you know 90% of the cancers are caused due to environmental or lifestyle factors. Only about 5-10% cancers are genetic!
And did you know that about 50% cancer cases are preventable!
"Healing requires willingness to change- physically, emotionally and spiritually"
Lifestyle, dietary changes and changes in one's mind set can help defeat Cancer as an adjunctive therapy along with the conventional medical treatment.
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are important pillars of cancer treatment. However, these conventional treatments do not address the underlying factors that predispose one to, or prevent cancer development. Now, with emerging scientific research, it is well proven that supporting and creating high levels of well-being with nutrition and exercise is as important as conventional therapies. In addition to all of these, a broader aspect of emotional, social and spiritual support is consequential too.
Here is how you can prevent the dreaded malady, commonly called the big C:
1. Eat real plant-based foods
A diet that includes predominantly fresh and organically grown fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes should be consumed. Beans, nuts and seeds should also be a part of diet. It is advisable to limit or minimise intake of processed foods. Nutrition evangelist Michael Pollan beautifully sums this in just 7 words - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
2. Include herbs and spices
Your kitchen can be the best pharmacy for preventing almost all sickness. Certain herbs and spices have the ability to modify several cellular processes linked to the risk of cancer and/or tumor behaviour. Turmeric and ginger both have well-documented cancer-preventive properties. Wheatgrass helps neutralize carcinogens(cancer-causing compounds) in the body. Other beneficial herbs and spices include garlic, caraway seeds, cardamom, basil, cinnamon, allspice, coriander, clove, saffron, cumin and nigella sativa (popularly known as kalonji in indian households).
3. Get a health check-up done regularly to evaluate your health status. It is imperative to maintain optimal levels of Vitamin D to help prevent many diseases including cancer.
4. Avoid tobacco and alcohol
Tobacco and alcohol are two vices that can damage DNA and increase cancer risk. A damaged DNA may result in uncontrolled growth of cells. Consumption of alcohol may increase the risk of some cancers. Alcohol breaks down into acetaldehyde which can damage DNA. If you do drink, then it is best to limit consumption to 1 drink per day for women and max 2 drinks per day for men.
Tobacco smoke contains at least 70 known carcinogens. As per ICMR 's reports, 30% of cancers in India are caused by tobacco consumption, both actively and passively.
5. Be physically active
Besides helping one stay in the ideal weight bracket (another way to prevent cancer), exercise helps one release endorphins or the feel-good hormone. Exercise can contribute towards better immune function, lower inflammation, alter metabolism of bile acids and enhance general well-being. A minimum of 150 minutes a week (30 minutes for 5 days a week) is recommended.
6. Ensure a minimum 7 hours of sleep
No medication or supplement can replace sleep. Your body repairs and rejuvenates during sleep. Melatonin, the hormone that governs the sleep-wake up cycle has inti-inflammatory, antioxidant and free radical scavenger effect.
7. Communicate more
A positive mind set is a key essential not only for keeping issues like depression at bay, but also to lead a healthy and happy life. A 2013 study of Harvard School of public health and university of Rochester revealed people who bottled up their emotions increased their risk of being diagnosed with cancer by 70%. Unexpressed negative emotions like grief, hurt, ange , resentment, guilt can cause cancer cells to multiply uncontrollably. Most people consider "self love" as being selfish. Years of ignoring oneself to look after others can take a toll on the human body. Nurturing oneself is as important as caring for others.
8. Stay positive
Build or develop a faith in some power and believe that it will restore your health back. Affirmations are consciously chosen self-talk that can replace the negative mental chatter that is part of our lives sometime of the other. Try and include a positive affirmation daily like "I am healthy and happy" or " my body and mind are free from all diseases". Make a holistic practice like yoga, chanting, meditation a part of your daily life to help tackle stress effectively and to prevent free radicals and cortisol overdrive.
Apart from preventing Cancer, following the above can ensure optimal health and longevity. After all, prevention is better than cure. While cancer continues to be a worldwide killer, you can change your lifestyle and extend your life at the same time.
(Mansi Chaudhary is a practicing Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Nutrigenomics Expert & a Holistic Cancer Coach. Her integrative approach to wards health & Nutrition helps patients learn about Mindful Eating and manage lifestyle diseases, autoimmune conditions as well as manage weight effectively.)
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