Worldwide, cancer is among the leading causes of death. In 2012, there were over 14 million new cases and over 8.2 million cancer-related deaths.
Many things in our genes, our lifestyle and the environment around us may increase or decrease one's risk of getting cancer.
There are no proven ways to prevent cancer, but one can reduce risk of getting it.
According to UK Cancer Research, 40% of cancer cases can be prevented.
Ways to reduce Cancer risk include:
1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables. Consume less animal protein.
2. Maintain A Healthy Weight
In Nigeria, the prevalence of overweight individuals ranges from 28.3% - 35.1%. Being overweight or obese can increase one's risk of cancers, such as: bowel, breast, womb, kidney and oesophagus.
3. Stay Physically Active
There is evidence that being physically fit can reduce one's risk of bowel and breast cancers, and also endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the womb)
4. Drink Less Alcohol
Drinking alcohol is known to increase one's risk of some cancers, including: mouth, voice box, oesophageal, colorectal, breast and liver cancers.
5. Stop Smoking Or Snuffing
Lung cancer is responsible for many cancer related deaths. Stopping smoking or snuffing greatly cuts the risk of developing cancer.
6. Know Your Body
It is important to know your body and recognise any potential symptoms of cancer such as lumps, unexplained bleeding, and to get advice about whether they might be serious.
7. Avoid Unsafe Sex
Vaccines have been developed that prevent some carcinogenic viruses like Human Papilloma virus and Hepatitis B virus.
Some cancer deaths can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. Creating awareness for early signs & symptoms in order to get them diagnosed early and treatment commenced early. Screening programmes are also helpful, such as: PAP Smear Test for cancer of the cervix, Mammography for breast cancer and PSA for prostate cancer.
AS ALWAYS, PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE.