Cancer is the second leading cause of death in America. Should we wait for signs and symptoms to detect and treat cancer? Or should we work to better understand the many causes of cancer and create a lifestyle that significantly reduces our risk of developing cancer? Before we work to prevent cancer, let’s focus on some of the basics.
What is cancer? Cancer is an uncontrolled growth and spread of cells within our body.
What causes cancer? The most known causes of cancer include tobacco use, poor nutrition, obesity, physical activity, stress, inflammation, drugs, alcohol, excessive sun exposure, occupational risks, environmental risks, infectious diseases and other carcinogens.
There are many factors that influence our health; some of which we cannot control and there are also some behaviors that we can and should control.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), we should take action to:
- Be a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans
- Limit consumption of “fast foods” and other processed foods that are high in fat, starches or sugars
- Limit consumption of red and processed meat
- Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Do not use supplements for cancer prevention
- For mothers: Breastfeed your baby, if you can
- Don’t smoke and avoid exposure tobacco
- Reduce excess sun exposure
- After a cancer diagnosis: Follow our recommendation, if you can.
According the AICR, following these recommendations will likely reduce intakes of salt, cholesterol, saturated and trans fats, which together will help prevent other non-communicable diseases. For more information visit: www.healthy10challenge.org