The growing incidence of cancer is troubling. More and more people seem to know at least one person that has or has had the disorder. While anyone can potentially have the condition, experts say it is not something you can do nothing about.
Cancer usually develops when the cell replication process in the body goes haywire. The body has a natural way of replacing old or worn-out cells. But when this disorder sets in, the process goes out of hand, leading to uncontrolled multiplication of cells.
There is no specific area of the body that cancers are restricted to. They can develop practically anywhere in a person’s body.
Gene damage that builds up over time with age plays the leading role in unrestrained cell replication. This, in turn, results from a variety of factors, including an unhealthy diet, tobacco smoking, and alcohol.
“Typically, you don’t have just one cause for a given cancer,” said Dr. Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “And some potential risk factors, like cigarette smoking and diet, are changeable.”
Watch your diet
One of those things that you have control over and can help lower cancer risk is your diet. Chemicals that certain foods contain, for instance, can increase the risk while those in some others can reduce it.
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Being overweight or obese is a major way by which an unhealthy diet may lead to cancer. This causes a surge in the amounts of some hormones that play a role in certain forms of cancer like breast cancer. Too much weight also promotes long-term inflammation that could promote the disorder.
Dr. Jill Reedy, another NIH researcher, says no single food or supplement will reduce your cancer risk. It is the overall content or composition of your diet that matters.
“Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy oils,” Reedy advises. “Limit alcohol, added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.”
Loftfield suggests that even when it doesn’t seem to be promoting weight loss a healthy diet still seems beneficial for preventing cancer.
Experts suggest increasing your physical activity will be helpful as well. This, for instance, offers one of the proven ways to maintain your body weight effectively.
As in the case of diet, Loftfield says being physically active can reduce the risk of certain cancer types, regardless of whether it helps with weight or not. The possible explanation for this is how it fights inflammation, stress, and other factors harmful to the cells.
Physical activity and a healthful diet are major determinants of a healthy lifestyle, which research shows could protect against cancer.
Other preventive tips
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and tobacco use is one of its leading causes. It is actually regarded as the leading cause of these disorders in the United States. So, it will help if you quit smoking, which can also lead to other serious health conditions.
You can take a variety of other actions to guard against cancer. These include regular screening to detect early signs or precursors. Taking steps to protect the skin against sun exposure, including wearing sunscreen, may prevent skin cancer. Vaccination can lower your risk of certain other cancer types as well. For instance, the vaccine Gardasil has proven to be protective against cervical and throat cancers caused by HPV viruses.