Things to know about Cancer: Prevention and EarlyDetection
P. Priyadarshi, MBBS, MD, FRCP (Edin)
Up to fifty percent of all cancers are preventable. Moreover, most of thecancers are curable if diagnosed early. Hence it is desirable that all of us knowhow cancers can be prevented or diagnosed early. Lifestyle modification goes along way in preventing cancer.Lifestyle changes:1.
About twenty percent of cancers are caused by smoking. Alcohol toocauses 3.5% of all cancers. It is recommended that one should refrainfrom tobacco and restrict alcohol intake. The permissible daily limit of alcohol is 60 to 90 ml of spirits (whisky, rum, gin, vodka) for men andtwo thirds of that for women. One bottle of beer equals 60 ml of whisky.A goblet of wine (100 ml) equals 30 ml of whisky.2.
Regular physical activity and the maintenance of ideal body weight,along with a healthy diet reduce cancer risk. Obesity and physicalinactivity cause one third of cancer deaths. One must exercise or walkthree hours a week.3.
Carcinogens are chemicals which produce cancers. All foods, especiallyfats, produce carcinogens on heating at very high temperatures (deep-frying, barbecuing etc.). Boiling is safe. A low fat and low sugar diet isdesirable for cancer prevention. Sugar does not cause cancer itself. Buthigh intake of refined sugar disturbs body metabolism in such a way thatcancer growth is promoted.4.
High fibre diet prevents a large number of cancers (cancers of colon,stomach and breast). Diet should provide high amount of fibre in eachmeal. Fresh fruits, carrot, legumes like beans and peas, green leafyvegetables and almonds contain lot of fibre. Fruits and vegetables alsoprovide antioxidants which protect body against cancers.5.
Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) are known for their pro-cancer effects. Theyshould be avoided. Fish can be taken, provided it is cooked in minimumof oil.6.
Healthy cooking practices reduce incidence of many cancers. Frying,barbequing and high temperature microwaving are not good. Boiling,poaching and steaming are good.
The article was published in the May 2010 issue of the
journal, published by India FirstFoundation, 5 Hailey Road, New Delhi.