Cancer remains a powerful adversary, affecting millions of people worldwide. To effectively combat this menace, educating the public about early detection, signs and symptoms is crucial. Equally important is spreading awareness about lifestyle changes that can prevent cancer incidence and significantly reduce mortality.
In an exclusive interview with Zee News English, Dr. Anil Herur, HOD and Senior Consultant-Surgical Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Mulund shares how lifestyle choices that can help reduce the risk of cancer and more. Read an excerpt from the conversation.
Although the exact causative factors for cancer remain elusive, many studies indicate an association with a combination of factors. Awareness of these factors, especially those within our control, such as dietary and lifestyle choices, becomes essential. By educating individuals about the impact of lifestyle choices on cancer risk, we can facilitate early diagnosis, potentially making the difference between life and death.
Understanding the impact of lifestyle factors on cancer risk
An independent study highlights avoidable risk factors as important contributors to preventable cancer. Addressing addiction and making informed lifestyle choices play an important role in reducing these risks. Things like not smoking, avoiding harmful ultraviolet radiation, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of cancer.
Dr. Herur said, “While family history affects cancer risk, some controllable factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, can be reduced. Alcohol, in particular, has emerged as a significant contributor to various cancers affecting organs such as the liver, pancreas. And gastrointestinal tract.”
Lifestyle Choices to Reduce Cancer Risk
Dr. Hirur highlighted, “Despite factors beyond our control, a significant percentage of cancer cases are linked to lifestyle choices. Habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are often considered ‘cool’, with long-term consequences. Daily exercise and a healthy diet Emphasis becomes critical in the pursuit of a cancer-free life.”
“Obesity, a risk factor for 13 different types of cancer, underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Regular exercise not only prevents weight gain but also lowers insulin levels, thereby inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. A balanced diet, rich in nutrients from fruits and vegetables , making the body stronger against the risk of cancer”, added Dr. Hiru.
“Elimination of unhealthy fats, saturated fats and reduction of red meat are essential dietary considerations. Processed meat, classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization, requires caution.”
In conclusion, although cancer may not be completely preventable, adopting a healthy lifestyle significantly reduces the risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, abstaining from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and getting regular preventive health check-ups, form the basis of cancer prevention.