It is often assumed that cancer is either a result of bad genes or bad luck but in reality it is a combination of our genes, our environment and the lifestyle we adopt, says Dr. Surender Kumar Dabas, Vice Chairman and HOD, Oncology, BLK-MAX Super Specialty. hospital So can lifestyle changes prevent cancer? Dr. Dabus shares, “Not all cancers are preventable but certain behaviors can significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer. So take control of your health and encourage those around you to do the same.”
Cancer Prevention: How to Reduce the Risk
Dr. Surender Kumar Dabas shares the following steps that can reduce the risk of cancer:
1. Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity has been linked to many cancers, so keeping your weight under control helps.
2. Healthy Eating: A balanced and nutritious diet plays an important role in cancer prevention. Make fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, vitamins, etc. A part of your routine diet. Limit your intake of fast food, processed foods, red meat and sugary drinks.
3. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise for at least 30-45 minutes per day contributes to overall well-being as well as helps maintain a healthy weight. Physical activity helps regulate hormones and strengthens the immune system, reducing the risk of cancer.
4. Say no to tobacco: Tobacco has been implicated in causing many types of cancer so avoiding tobacco, smoking or chewing in any form goes a long way in cancer prevention. If you haven’t started, don’t start, and if you already smoke, quit. Keep trying, it will take a lot of effort before you succeed and seek professional and peer help for this.
5. Limit alcohol consumption, not the good stuff: Opt for juice over non-alcoholic drinks and avoid alcohol-centric parties/occasions. Get help if you are addicted/dependent on alcohol.
6. Ensure Sun Protection: Soaking in the sun feels good, but too much exposure can cause skin cancer. Avoid sun exposure during peak hours, i.e. 10 am to 4 pm, and use protective clothing, hats and sunscreen.
7. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections: STDs such as HPV, hepatitis and HIV contribute to many cancers. Practice safe sex, be loyal to your partner and use protection.
8. Manage Stress: Chronic stress weakens the immune system, potentially contributing to the development of cancer. Take up yoga, meditation and mindfulness; Avoid environmental stress.
9. Be aware of environmental factors:Limit exposure to environmental carcinogens such as lead, radon, etc. due to occupational hazards and take necessary precautions to minimize exposure.
10. Get vaccinated: Some vaccines prevent infections resulting from cancer; For example, the HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer and the hepatitis B vaccine prevents liver cancer. Consult your healthcare professional.
11. Go for regular screening to ensure early detection: It helps in detecting cancer at an early stage with better treatment outcomes. Follow recommended screening guidelines for breast, cervical, colorectal, prostate, and lung cancer based on your age, gender, and risk factors. If you have a positive family history, you should get tested at an early age. Consult your doctor/oncologist.
“Cancer prevention is multi-faceted and requires a holistic approach, and these small lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your long-term health. Not only cancer prevention, but also better treatment outcomes when cancer is diagnosed,” said Dr. Dabus.