As we wait for the government to declare cancer a national disaster, or better still, build cancer centres in every county and embark on an awareness tour, there are a few things we can do as individuals to avert the disaster. Cancer is still significantly a lifestyle disease, and a change in the way we do things can keep it at bay. Here are ten lifestyle changes you can make to prevent cancer.
Stop using plastic containers to warm food in the microwave
Most plastics contain hormone-disrupting compounds, some which are carcinogenic (cause cancer). When you warm food in the microwave using plastic containers, some of these compounds may leak into your food and cause you harm. Unless the container has been labeled microwave-safe, do not use plastic to warm food not just in the microwave, but everywhere else.
Avoid processed foods
Highly processed foods, especially those that have undergone industrial processing, have been tied to cancer. Most of these foods are high in starch and sugar, which encourages cancer cells to grow.
Start working out
Regular exercise has been found to lower the risk of cancer. You do not have to work out every single day, but when you do, work out for at least 30 minutes.
Cook food home
You are more likely to eat healthier food when you cook it at home. At home, you have control over the amount and type of oil you use, spices, additives as opposed to eating out. More so, you have no clue what many food outlets do to their foods to preserve them. Thus it is safer eating from home.
Skip red meat
Kenyans love their nyama choma. Unfortunately, red meat heightens the chances of cancer even when eaten moderately, if the results of a recent study by The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the UK are anything to go by. Eating processed meat such as sausages, ham, and bacon is just as bad, as it puts you at risk of bowel cancer. Thus, you might want to cut down your intake of red and processed meat to prevent cancer.
Get screened regularly
Take every chance to get screened for cancer. You might not be able to altogether avoid the disease because it can be hereditary, but catching it early makes treatment and complete healing easier.
Drink alcohol moderately
If you drink alcohol, go easy on the bottle. Alcohol causes liver cirrhosis and can be linked to a flurry of other cancers.
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight
UV rays from the sun increase the risk of skin cancer, and yes, this applies to all races. Use sunscreen and wear sunglasses and protective clothing whenever you can. Remember Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays are also emitted by tanning bed and LED nail lamps for curing gel polish, so you may want to take all precautions when you have to use either.
Smoking is the most significant preventable cause of cancer. Tobacco smoke has many harmful chemical substances that can affect many organs once they get into the bloodstream. Smoking can be linked to at least 15 types of cancer, including mouth, lung, throat, nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), oesophagus, liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney, bowel, ovary, bladder, cervix, and some types of leukemia. Even if you do not smoke, avoid passive smoking – breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke.
Maintain a healthy weight and diet
Being overweight increases the risk of cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight is a combination of making good dietary choices and working out. Prefer a diet of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins over ones with processed foods to prevent cancer.