Cancer prevalence in developing countries is predicted to increase in rates for the next decades. Would it be appropriate to say, blame it on the industrialized lifestyles. Despite thousands of researched data on the link of cancer to unhealthy lifestyle, people simply cannot resist the inviting and tantalizing lure of the easy, delicious and unhealthy practices.
Deep fried foods, erratic schedules, stressful work, chronic infections, more hours glued to a desk in front of laptop writing or playing basketball online than on the actual court. These are just few things that modern era brought people to face day in and day out.
The link of lifestyle to cancer
According to the 2014 World Cancer Report, 14 million new cancer cases rose in the year 2012. In addition, 8.2 million people worldwide died of cancer. A 2012 report of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) showed that most of the deaths come from developing countries. These phenomena are expected to rise even higher by succeeding years. But the big question is why? And the answer is lifestyle.
Generally, cancer occurs when for some reason, cells begin to proliferate uncontrollably in almost any part of the human body. These cancer cells then metastasize to different sites from a point of origin. Research and many scientific studies have proven how lack of activity, poor diet choices and exposure to tobacco are lifestyle factors put a person at risk for cancer.
There are actually more than a hundred types of cancers existing. But perhaps a bright side to that comes from the same knowledge that as much as 40% of these cancers can be prevented according to WHO cancer brochure of 2007. This can be done by reducing alcohol and tobacco use, improving diets as well as physical activity.
The cancers linked to lifestyle are actually the common and more prevalent ones which include: breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and testicular cancer.
Tidbits on the Preventable Cancers
Let’s take a look at ways of preventing these lifestyle-linked cancers one by one aspect from diet modification to good physical activity and avoidance of tobacco and alcohol.
- Cervical Cancer – remains to be one of the top 5 leading causes of cancer among women. However, prevention can be done by vaccination, avoidance of multiple sexual partners, early detection such as of long-standing HPV infection and low-cost but effective screening test with the use of acetic acid sprayed into the cervix during a speculum exam.
- Breast Cancer – can be prevented by do-it-yourself method called breast self-examination as well as mammography for high risk groups which includes older females,genetic predisposition, smokers.
- Colorectal Cancer – can be prevented with a prudent diet of food rich in fiber and low in fat as well as early detection through stool exams as well as digital rectal exams
- Lung Cancer – can be prevented by avoidance of tobacco and air pollutants such as asbestos.
- Oral Cancer – avoidance of alcohol and tobacco are the key factors in preventing of oral cancer. Proper dental hygiene counts as well.
- Prostate Cancer – prostate cancers are screened with the use of digital trans-rectal examination.
- Skin cancer – skin cancer has been linked to excessive sun exposure
- Testicular cancer – Early detection can be done through testicular self-examination
Screening tests are already secondary levels of prevention. The most effective and important technique will always boil down to our desire to change our lifestyle before the great health scare of the big C turns to us.
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- Reyala, J.P., Nisce, Z.P. et al. Community Health Nursing Services in the Philippines. 9th Edition. 2000. Philippines