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8 ways to reduce the risk of developing cancer

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Cancer is causing more deaths in the world than HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria combined.

In Kenya currently, cancer is the 3rd leading cause of deaths. Annually, over 37,000 new cancer cases are reported in medical facilities and about 100 cancer deaths in a day.

Although cancer is curable, unfortunately about 70-80 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer in Kenya are at advanced stages with high incidence of  misdiagnosis and inadequate screening hindering early detection.

Cancer is a lifestyle disease that is curable if it is detected early. The development of cancer is a very complex multistep process where the mutated genes conspire with various environmental triggers and risk factors.

Earlier, older people aged 40 or 50 years or above are the one who were affected by cancer but today age is no longer a factor as even children are affected and young adults are affected more.

Below are things one can do to reduce risks of developing cancer.

{ Read: Sugary drinks increase cancer risk }

1. Quit Smoking or don’t start

Smoking is the biggest cancer-causer globally according to studies. Smoke causes lung cancer which kills many people in a year that breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.

Further, smoking can also cause cancer of the mouth, nose, voice box, liver, stomach, kidney, bladder, colon and some form of blood cancer.

Women who started smoking heavily in their teenage years have high risk of developing breast cancer.

2. Maintaining healthy weight

According to the World Cancer Research Fund , being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing 11 different kinds of cancer: colon, throat, pancreatic, liver, kidney, breast (post-menopause), stomach, womb, ovarian, advanced prostate, and gallbladder. Too much belly fat is linked to higher cancer risk.

Having excess fats in the body causes the cells to release hormones such as estrogen that can increase risks of developing cancer.

{ See Also: Kenya hospital inks deal to reduce travel to India for cancer, renal care }

3. Get enough sleep

Medical practitioners advice that an adult should get 7-8 hours sleep per night. Being deprived of sleep depletes the body’s store of white blood cells  that can destroy tumors.

Sleep deprivation is now being implicated in cases of colon, breast and prostate cancer.

Having 4-5 hours sleep lowers body’s leucocytes by 70 percent.

4. Exercise

Exercise helps keep the hormone levels healthy and immune system robust, which are both great cancer defense mechanisms. Regular exercise reduced the risks of colon cancer by 24 percent, uterus cancer by 20 percent 12 percent in breast cancer.

Women are encouraged to exercise more since it lowers their estrogen levels since too much estrogen can encourage breast cells to divide more frequently.

5. Eat healthy

Fruits, vegetables, legumes are healthy as they are rich in fibre that reduce risk of developing colon cancer and keep things running smoothly in your digestive system.

However, red mea and processed food pose as a risk to develop risk. Red meat has heme protein that can damage our intestinal lining.

{ Read: CS inaugurates cancer, tobacco boards }

6. Breastfeeding for months

Breastfed kids are less likely to develop childhood cancer since the mothers milk has everything babies need for the first months of life.

Breastfeeding can also help mothers reduce risks of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

7. Reduce alcohol intake

Drinking more alcohol is associated with developing all kinds of cancers of the digestive system that is mouth, throat, breast, stomach, colon, and liver cancers.

Alcohol is dangerous as it irritates tissue making it easier for carcinogens to sneak in and cause DNA damage in the body. The more you drink the higher the risks of cancer.

8. Take in some sunshine

According to studies people living at higher latitudes are at greater risk of developing 15 kinds of cancer than people who live closer to the equator and routinely get more sun. That list of cancers includes some of the most dangerous kinds, like breast, lung, lymphoma, pancreatic, and prostate.

People who get out and enjoy the sun regularly are less likely to die from all kinds of causes, including cancer.

{ See Also: Breast implants linked to a rare cancer }

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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