Cancer is one of the most pressing healthcare problems of our time. 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year and the World Health Organization estimates that this number will increase to 22 million in the next two decades.
Why World Cancer Day?
World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008.
The day also serves to pressure governments and individuals to take action in order to prevent, treat and control cancers and go also show love and support to propagate around the world battling cancer.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a heterogeneous group of diseases that result from abnormal cell growth and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body.
What can we do to prevent cancer?
Much as it is difficult to determine who gets it or not, there are lifestyle changes we can make as individuals to help prevent cancer; such as knowing what goes into your beauty and personal care products especially cosmetics and what food to eat.
Harvard medicine released a list they called the 10 commandments of Cancer prevention. I’ll just share with you all it says:
1. Avoid tobacco in all its forms, including exposure to secondhand smoke.
2. Eat properly. Reduce your consumption of saturated fat and red meat, which appears to increase the risk of colon and prostate cancers.
3. Exercise regularly. Physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer, and it may even help prevent prostate cancer. Exercise also appears to reduce a woman’s risk of breast and possibly reproductive cancers. Exercise will help protect you even if you don’t lose weight.
4. Stay lean. Obesity increases the risk of many forms of cancer. Calories count; if you need to slim down, take in fewer calories and burn more with exercise.
5. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to one to two drinks a day. Excess alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus (food pipe), liver, and colon; it also increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Smoking further increases the risk of many alcohol-induced malignancies.
6. Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. Get medical imaging studies only when you need them. Check your home for residential radon, which increases the risk of lung cancer. Protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, which increases the risk of melanomas and other skin cancers. But don’t worry about electromagnetic radiation from high-voltage power lines or radiofrequency radiation from microwaves and cell phones. They do not cause cancer.
7. Avoid exposure to industrial and environmental toxins such as asbestos fibers, benzene, aromatic amines, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
8. Avoid infections that contribute to cancer, including hepatitis viruses, HIV, and the human papillomavirus. Many are transmitted sexually or through contaminated needles.
9. Consider taking low-dose aspirin. Men who take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs appear to have a lower risk of colon cancer and possibly prostate cancer. It’s an unproven benefit, and aspirin can produce gastric bleeding and other side effects, even in low doses. On the plus side, though, low-dose aspirin does protect men from heart attacks and the most common type of stroke; men at the highest risk reap the greatest benefits.
10. Get enough vitamin D. Many experts now recommend 800 to 1,000 IU a day, a goal that’s nearly impossible to attain without taking a supplement. Although protection is far from proven, evidence suggests that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer, and other malignancies.
As they say, prevention is the best medicine. I hope as we adopt these changes to our daily lives, we live cancer free.
by Farida Adamu
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