Generally people believe that getting cancer is only due to inherited faulty genes, fate or bad luck. But over the years scientific research has proved that our risk actually depends on a combination of causes including our genes, our environment and our lifestyle, which is a lot under our control.
Cancer is caused when damage occurs to our DNA, the chemical instructions that tell our cells what they should do, our environment which may consists of UV rays, or our lifestyle where we use such cancer causing chemicals as in tobacco. All these can cause damage to the DNA. This damage stacks-up over time. When a cell develops too much damage to its DNA, it can start to grow and multiply out of control, which is identified as cancer.
People inherit damaged DNA from their parents; this actually increases their risk of getting cancers. Some of these genes are linked to breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers. Though we should understand that the proportion of cancers caused by inherited genes is comparatively very small. The estimate is that only 2 – 3 cancer cases out of 100 are linked to inherited genes.
Keep your weight under check and be as lean as possible without becoming underweight
Be physically active for at least 30 minutes daily
Avoid sugars, high-calorie foods, especially those low in fibre and rich in fat
Eat more vegetable, fruits, whole grains and legumes
Cut down on your red meat and processed meat (canned meat, sausages, salami, bacon & ham)
Limit your alcohol consumption
Avoid salty foods and processed food (precooked, canned and packaged food)
Don’t use supplements to protect yourself against cancer
Breastfeed babies at least for six months before starting other foods
Visit your doctor for yearly check-up
Lifestyle changes and healthy living is always beneficial though it may not be a fail-safe guarantee against cancer. It of course reduces the risk of getting cancer though.
We have seen a heavy smoker who lives a cancer free life, while an ardent non-smoker developing lung cancer due to various other causes. Even then studies indicate that people who have never smoked are far less likely to develop or die of cancer.
So, the dictum is that let us do our best to keep cancer away from our doors and if it does occur then let us detect it early and always remember that many of the cancers are today easily curable and can be prevent from remission with a little care.