- The best way to prevent the spread of cancer and the emergence of related complications is by detecting the disease in its earliest and most treatable stages. Advanced technologies in medicine can find pre-cancerous changes and treat them before they progress to cancer (such as pap smears for cervical cancer and colonoscopies for colorectal cancer). Maintain a regular screening schedule and consult your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
- Smoking is widely recognized as a risk factor for lung cancer and has also been linked to several other cancers. For smokers, quitting the habit is an important step in reducing cancer risk. Non-smokers should of course not take up smoking and be aware of the risks of second-hand smoke. This means avoiding individuals who smoke and smoke-filled environments.
- Being overweight or obese increases your risk of many health conditions, including cancer. If you are overweight or obese, consult your doctor about a healthy weight-loss plan. If you have a healthy weight, maintain it with a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
- Physical activity can be greatly beneficial for overall health and well-being. It may also help prevent cancer. Even moderate amounts of exercise may reduce cancer risk and boost health. It’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress. Consider exercise and relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation.
- Diets rich in fruits and vegetables (plant-based foods) may help lower cancer risk. Moreover, beans, whole grains, lean meats, and fish may help in cancer prevention. Keep red meat consumption (such as beef, veal, pork, and lamb) to no more than three portions per week for a total of 12-18 ounces. Eat little or no processed meat (anything salted, cured, grilled, and smoked). Get your protein from whole grains, legumes, soy, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs.
- Alcohol consumption may increase cancer risk; it is usually not recommended to consume more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks for men.
- The risk for some cancers runs in families. Learn about cancer incidence (including the disease type and age at diagnosis) among your relatives and share this information with your doctor. Your family history will help you and your doctor determine your cancer risk and develop a screening and prevention plan.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a medical condition in which cells grow out of control and crowd out the normal cells. This makes it difficult for the body to work the way it should. Cancer can start at any place in the body. There are many types of cancer. It’s not just one disease. Cancer can start in the lungs, breast, colon, or blood. Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. The most common cancers include:
- In men: Prostate, lung, and colorectal
- In women: Breast, lung, and colorectal
- In children: Leukemia, brain tumors, and lymphoma
The most common treatments for cancer include:
- Surgery: It is usually used to take out the cancerous cells from the body. The surgeon might also take out some or all the cancer-affected body parts. For breast cancer, the surgeon might remove part (or all) of the breast. For prostate cancer, the surgeon might remove the prostate gland. Surgery is not used for all types of cancer. For example, blood cancers, such as leukemia, are best treated with drugs.
- Chemotherapy: These are the type of drugs that kill cancer cells or slow their growth. These drugs may be given through an intravenous (IV) line, into a vein through a needle, or like an oral pill. Because chemo drugs may travel to all parts of the body, they are especially useful for the treatment of aggressive cancer.
- Radiation: This method is also used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. It can be used alone or with surgery or chemo. Radiation treatment is like getting an X-ray. Sometimes, a “seed” inside the cancer is put to give off radiation and kill the cancerous cells.
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