Having discussed and dispelled most of the misconceptions about cancer in our environment, it is imperative that I also mention a couple of useful lifestyle measures that people need to know about cancers:
Exercise reduces cancer risk: This is a fact. Studies have revealed that exercise is not only beneficial for the cardiovascular system, mental health and body weight management, it also helps to prevent cancer especially breast and colon cancer. But exercise is not a definite means of preventing or treating cancer. Regular cancer screening is still highly recommended for people with high cancer risk. Other lifestyle measures that can reduce cancer risk include avoiding cigarette smoke, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Smoked foods and processed meats are risk: Scientific evidence suggesting that consuming smoked foods and processed meats like luncheon meats can increase the risk of cancer exists. However, this is more closely linked to malignancies of the digestive tract like cancers of the stomach and colon. The risk increases significantly when a person consumes barbequed food, smoked and processed meats on a daily basis. Carcinogens like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from the smoking process are believed to adhere to the food. It is believed that the high concentration of nitrites in luncheon meats is responsible for the increased risk of cancer.
Radiation treatments increase future risk of cancer: Radiation therapy remains one of the mainstay and a very effective treatment option for cancer. It works by destroying the DNA of the cancer cells but it can also damage normal and healthy cells. Even though radiation treatment is an important tool in cancer therapy, it can also increase the risk of cancer arising later on in life but it’s not a guarantee. For this reason, when absolutely necessary it must be conducted as prescribed by an oncologist in the smallest possible dose and for as short a time as possible.
Acknowledgements – some information in this article were culled from:
King Hussein Cancer Foundation – http://www.khcc.jo/section/cancer-myths-facts
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Dr Timothy Akinmurele contributed this article.
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