Cancer remains a formidable adversary, affecting millions globally. To combat this menace effectively, educating the public about early identification, signs, and symptoms is crucial. Equally paramount is spreading awareness about lifestyle changes that can prevent the occurrence of cancer and significantly reduce mortality rates.
In an exlusive interview with Zee News English, Dr Anil Heroor, HOD & Senior Consultant-Surgical Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Mulund shares how lifestyle choices that can help decrease cancer risk and more. Read an excerpt from the conversation.
While the exact causative factors for cancer remain elusive, numerous studies suggest a correlation with a combination of factors. Awareness about these factors, especially those within our control, such as dietary and lifestyle choices, becomes imperative. By enlightening 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 significant contributors to preventable cancers. Addressing addictions and making informed lifestyle choices play a pivotal role in mitigating these risks. Factors like refraining from smoking, avoiding harmful UV radiation, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, moderating alcohol consumption, and embracing a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can substantially reduce the risk of cancer.
Dr Heroor says, “While family history influences cancer risk, certain controllable factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, can be curtailed. Alcohol, in particular, has emerged as a significant contributor to various cancers, affecting organs like the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract.”
Lifestyle Choices for Reducing Cancer Risk
Dr Heroor highlights, “Despite factors beyond our control, a substantial percentage of cancer cases are associated with lifestyle choices. Habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, often deemed ‘cool,’ carry long-term consequences. Emphasizing daily exercise and a healthy diet becomes crucial 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 reduces insulin levels, thereby inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. A balanced diet, rich in nutrients from fruits and vegetables, further fortifies the body against cancer risks”, adds Dr Heroor further.
“Eliminating unhealthy fats, saturated fats, and reducing red meat intake are essential dietary considerations. Processed meats, classified as group 1 carcinogens by the World Health Organization, demand caution.”
In conclusion, while cancer may not be entirely preventable, adopting a healthy lifestyle significantly reduces the risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, a balanced diet, abstaining from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, coupled with timely preventive health check-ups, form the bedrock of cancer prevention.