According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 30% to 50% of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention of cancer is a cost-effective and long-term strategy for the control of cancer.
Here are several steps you can take to reduce exposure to cancer risk factors.
Stop Tobacco Usage
Tobacco usage leads to various types of cancer, namely lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix, and kidney. Exposure to secondhand smoke may also increase your risk of lung cancer.
Take, for example, lung cancer. It is currently the third most common cancer in Malaysia, accounting for 19.8% of all medically certified cancer mortality in this country. Local data shows that 92% of Malaysian male lung cancer patients have a significant history of smoking.
Dietary modification is an essential approach to cancer control. Obesity is associated with as many as 13 types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, uterine, kidney, head and neck, oesophagal, pancreatic, endometrium, prostate, gall bladder, and thyroid.
According to the National Cancer Institute, a person with a body mass index (BMI) above 30 is two times at risk of getting gastric cardia, liver, and kidney cancer compared to normal people.
Reduce your risk of cancer by:
- Eating fruits and vegetables
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Limit processed meats
A Mediterranean diet can help you kickstart your cancer prevention regime. A diet full of healthy fats sourced from fish and olive oil, healthy plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, can reduce the risk of cancers such as breast cancer.
Be Physically Active
Physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet are both essential to lower the risk of breast and colon cancer.
Adults participating in physical activity, at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity can help maintain weight and lower the risk of 10 types of cancer by 20%, according to the American Cancer Society.
More than just spending hours at the gym, kickstart your health by going for a walk, swimming, riding a bike, jogging, or dancing.
Protect Yourself From The Sun
Skin cancer is the 10th most common cancer in Malaysia, accounting for 2.6% of all cancer cases. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer has been increasing in the past decades.
Just how many are we talking – about two to three million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers each year.
Though skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer, it is also one of the most preventable. Prevent cancer by:
- Avoiding the midday sun between 10 am to 4 pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Stay in the shade when outdoors. Sunglasses and a hat can help block some of that sunlight.
- Cover up as much of your skin as possible and wear a colour that reflects UV radiation, such as bright or dark colours.
- Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 even on cloudy days.
Protection against viral infections is essential in preventing cancers.
- Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. Vaccine for Hepatitis B is recommended for certain adults at high risk – especially adults who are sexually active but not in mutually monogamous relationships, people with sexually transmitted infections, people who use intravenous drugs, healthcare or public safety workers exposed to infected blood or body fluids.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical, other genital cancers, and squamous cell cancers in the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 and 12.
Regular Medical Check-ups
Increase your chance of discovering cancer early and increase the likeliness of treatment to be successful through regular self-exams and screening for various types of cancers.