Globally right now, cancer disease becomes one in eight of all deaths – more than other diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Every year, over 12 million people receive a cancer diagnosis and 7.6 million die because of that disease. If it is no action now, the worldwide cancer burden should be expected to reach 26 million new diagnoses and 17 million deaths by the year 2030, with the most rapid increases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
The good news is that experts estimate that 40% of cancers can be prevented. And the risk of you or your family developing cancer can be significantly reduced through simple measures as follows here:
- Stopping tobacco use and avoiding exposure to passive smoke
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Avoiding excessive sun exposure
- Regular physical activity
- Eating healthily
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Protecting against cancer-causing infections
Tobacco use and passive smoke
Tobacco use is one of single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world today. Tobaccos causes 80-90% of all lung cancer deaths, and about one third of all cancer deaths in developing countries, including cancer of the mouth, voice box, throat and stomach.
Please stop tobacco use such as smoking, chewing and sniffing, and avoid exposure to passive smoke as an effective cancer prevention measures.
Alcohol consumption becomes a risk for cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box, breast, bowel and liver. The risk of cancers of the upper digestive system increases in line with the quantity of alcohol consumed above 25 g/day (roughly 2.5 dl of wine or 5 dl of beer). One hundred grams a day of alcohol (roughly 1 ltr of wine or 2 ltr of beer) has a 4-6-fold increased risk of these cancers compared to light or non-drinkers.
Please limit the amount of alcohol you drink as give you an effective cancer prevention measure.
Physical inactivity again becomes the main cause of around 25% of breast cancer and colon cancer cases globally. However there is consistent evidence that taking regular physical activity reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. These beneficial effects occur independent of body weight.
- For adults at least 30 minutes of moderately-intense physical activity 5 days per week will reduce the risk of these cancers.
- For school-aged youth at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorously-intense physical activity each day is recommended for health benefits.
Many research show the link between diet and the risk of certain types of cancer. Studies indicate that each daily portion (80-100 grams) of fruit or vegetables reduces the risk of mouth cancer by approximately 20%, and of stomach cancer by about 30%. And high fibre intake (on average of 27g/day) is associated with a 20% lower risk of bowel cancer, whereas red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer and a high intake of salt and salt-preserved foods increases the risk of stomach cancer.
What we can do is limiting consumption of energy-dense foods, saturated fats (e.g. butter, coconut and palm oil), sugary drinks, salty foods, red and processed, black-roasted and fried meats and enjoying a varied and healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains may reduce the risk of these cancers.
It is a fact that overweight or obese (with a body mass index above 25 and 30) will increase the risk of developing cancers of the womb, kidney, oesophagus, stomach, colon, breast (in post-menopausal women), prostate, gallbladder and pancreas.
Recommendation: maintain a healthy weight through appropriate physical activity and a healthy diet that mostly may reduce the risk of cancer.
Small amounts of sunlight are essential for our bodies to produce vitamin D, however the excessive exposure to natural sun or artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation such as sunbeds increases the risk of all types of skin cancer.
Recommendation: stop use of sun beds and avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight. Wearing of sunscreen and protective clothing are effective cancer prevention measures.
Cancer is not infectious, however there are a number of infections that either directly cause cancer, or increase the risk of cancer. In fact almost 22% of cancer deaths in the developing world and 6% in industrialized countries are caused by chronic infections such as with the hepatitis B or C virus (which cause cancer of the liver), human papillomavirus (which causes cervical cancer) and helicobacter pylori bacteria (which increases the risk of stomach cancer).
Recommended interventions are immunization, treatment of infections and behavior change. They can reduce exposure to specific risk factors and are effective cancer prevention measures.