Is Cancer Inevitable? Absolutely Not!

April 28, 2020

We need to talk about the big C. The word we use in hushed tones. The thing that we’re always worried about, even in the midst of a global pandemic. We’re talking of course about cancer. It’s understandable that many of us are loath to talk or even think about this dread disease. If we have a history of cancer in our families, we may feel especially sensitive about cancer. Not only will we have seen its effects on someone we love first hand, we may also have a nagging worry that it’s only a matter or time until we face our own battle with cancer.

Image by Marijana1 via Pixabay

Yet, while cancer is a genetic disease, that doesn’t mean that our fates are encoded in our DNA. Cancer is by no means an inevitability. Here we’ll look at what you can do to decrease your risk factor and live a happy, healthy life. 

Understanding is the first step towards protection

In order to reduce our risk of cancer, we must get out of the habit of burying our heads in the sand and accepting it as an inevitability. We need to educate ourselves and sort out the facts from the myths. We need to ask “what is cancer?”, “what causes cancer cells to spread?” and What makes the difference between a healthy cell and a cancerous one”? The better we understand the problem, the better placed we are to prevent and mitigate it. 

While of course we have no cure for cancer yet, there are ways in which we can prevent and mitigate it. Starting with avoiding the following...

Alcohol and tobacco

It goes without saying that carcinogens like cigars and cigarettes (the jury’s out on vaping) are strongly linked to an increased cancer risk. Moreover, those who regularly drink alcohol to excess often experience an increased risk of a range of cancers including breast, throat, liver and colorectal. 

Processed foods

Processed foods are high in sugar, salt and saturated fats, all of which are known to trigger the body’s inflammatory response and increase our risk of not only cancer but other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, processed meats like ham, sausage, bacon and salami have been identified by the World Health Organization as Type 1 carcinogens. While a slice of bacon isn’t quite as risky as a pack of cigarettes, it’s safe to say that any carcinogen should be avoided.

Fresh wholefoods like fruits, veggies, grains and pulses on the other hand are packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals as well as vitamins and minerals. Pack plenty of these onto your plate and cleaning up your diet is easier than you might think

Sedentary behaviour

Finally, if your job and lifestyle confine you to a chair for the vast majority of the day, this may also increase your risk of cancer (as well as diabetes, heart disease and digestive problems). Some studies show that a sedentary lifestyle directly correlates with a risk of cancer while an active lifestyle including plenty of exercise has proven effective in combating it. While sitting may not quite be “the new smoking” we all owe it to ourselves to do less of it.  

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