Top 7 Tips to Prevent Cancer, 13 '11 Subject: cancer, Viewed by: 27
A complex mix of factors related to environment, lifestyle, and heredity plays a role in the causation of cancer. For example, 80 percent of all cancers are related to the use of tobacco products, to what we eat and drink, and to our exposure to radiation, asbestos, and some of the other cancer-causing agents. There’s not much you can do about your genes, but several other key risk factors are under your control. If you identify them and make the necessary changes in your lifestyle early enough, you can substantially decrease your chances of developing a malignancy. Here are some of the risk factors you can do something about:
Tobacco is the most preventable cause of mortality in this country. Regardless of whether you chew it, snuff it, smoke it, or inhale someone else’s exhaust, tobacco is a killer. In the United States, it is responsible for 85 to 90 percent of all lung cancers, and for one-third of all deaths related to other cancers. The magnitude of the risk depends on the number and kind of cigarettes you have smoked and for how long. A pack-a-day smoker is ten times more vulnerable than a non-smoker. It is never too late to quit. After you do, your cancer risk declines gradually each year.
2. Chronic alcohol abuse
This type of abuse can cause cancer of the liver, as well as of the mouth, throat, and larynx, especially in combination with tobacco. It may also raise the risk of breast cancer. If you are going to imbibe, limit yourself to the equivalent of two drinks a day – and stop smoking.
People who shun fruits and vegetables have roughly twice the incidence of most types of cancer – lung, larynx, oral cavity, stomach, colon, and rectum, bladder, pancreas, cervix, and ovary – than those with the highest intake. Yet only 9 percent of Americans heed the recommendations of the National Cancer Institute and the National Research Council to eat two servings of fruit and three portions of vegetables a day. Seventh-Day Adventists, who don’t drink or eat much meat but do consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, have the lowest incidence of cancer in the U.S. population. This protective effect is probably due to the antioxidants and folic acid present in fruits and vegetables, which neutralize damage to chromosomal DNA caused by oxygen-free radicals.
4. A high-fat diet
This type of diet is associated with cancer of the breast, uterus, and prostate. The guilty foods are eggs, fatty meat, high-fat salad dressings and cooking oils, and diary products such as whole milk, butter, and most cheeses.
Blueberries have a higher antioxidant capacity than any other fruit or vegetable. They are said to protect against cancer by virtue of their anthocyanins and other natural phytochemicals.
5. A high consumption of soy-based food
Soy-based food such as tofu, may also protect against cancer because of the genistein content. Genistein suppresses the production of proteins that cancer cells need in order to keep growing. In China and Japan, where people eat lots of soy, there is much less cancer of the breast, colon, and prostate than in this country. Since men with prostate cancer generally have lower blood levels of selenium than their normal counterparts, selenium supplements may protect against this malignancy.
6. Some supplements
Some supplements seem to protect against certain cancers. For instance, colon polyps and cancer do not recur as often in persons who regularly take multivitamins, calcium supplements, and vitamin E. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is protective against cancer, presumably because of the beta-carotene content. So take your mother’s advice: Eat all the fruits and vegetables you can – and forget the pills.
7. Don’t have X-rays
Don’t have X-rays any more frequently than is absolutely necessary. I no longer take annual routine chest films on myself. Some dentists are too enthusiastic about X rays. Make sure you really need them before acquiescing.