There are now more ways than quitting tobacco to reduce the risk of cancer. Eating healthy, being lean, and staying active not only helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, but it is also something to live by if you want to reduce the risk of getting various cancers.
Otis Brawley, American Cancer Society’s (ACS) chief medical officer noted how usage of tobacco is declining over the past several years. As a result, there is a likelihood that a new preventable leading cause to cancer will arise in the future, which this study sheds light on. The cause is what Brawley calls a “three-legged stool,” which includes poor diet, inadequate physical activity, and excess weight. These causes together make up a more than a quarter of cases of cancer.
Being lean is one of the more important components of cancer prevention. According to the ACS, the body mass index score that people should be aiming for is between 18.5 to 24.9.
The Cancer Society says that an excess of body weight is associated with greater risk of endometrium, breast, esophagus, colon and rectum, pancreas and kidney cancer. Extra weight is also likely to raise the risk of getting liver cancer, along with gallbladder, multiple myloma, non-hodgkin lymphoma, cervix, prostate, and ovary cancer.
In regards to healthy eating, an expert in cancer prevention, Moshe Shike, tells the Washington Post that there is no known specific diet; however, the evidence is out there that a good diet in general can reduce the risk of cancer. By healthy eating it is recommended by the ACS to eat plants and foods that are whole-grain, in particular ones that controls calorie levels. Moreover, eating evening meals earlier may help into reducing how many calories is eaten and how much the body burns.
Being active is also vital. Taking in an over abundance of calories compared to what is burned can create an imbalance that lead to hormonal and metabolic changes, which could lead to cancer among other diseases. People who develop colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancer often get other diseases too because of inactivity.
This follows a study in October 2013 that found women who were post-menopausal had 14 percent lesser risk of getting breast cancer if they walked seven hours weekly compared to women who spent three hours walking on a weekly basis.
In addition, in January, another study this time on 65,000 post-menopausal women found that women who followed the ACS guidelines, which includes being active, maintaining a healthy diet, and limiting consumption of alcohol, had a 17 percent lesser risk of any type of cancer compared to women who didn’t. Furthermore, they also had lower risks of breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
It is recommended by the ACS to do no less than two hours and a half of walking weekly or an hour and a half of jogging. The American Institute for Cancer Research echoes these recommendations by calling for 30 minutes daily exercise or an hour for the maximum benefits.
Shike tells the Washington Post that this is “not a blaming game.” Whatever an individual’s diet is now, if reducing the risk of cancer is a priority, then start moving forward today. Shike emphasizes how the past can not be changed, but by eating healthy and staying fit, one is taking the right step forward.
By Kollin Lore