How to Prevent Cancer:
Facts You Can't Help But Know to Stay Cancer-Free
Cancer is a HUGE scare in the world right now.
It gets even scarier when you hardly understand a thing about cancer.
Every human in the modern world appears to worry about how to prevent cancer.
But here is one question that brings everything into perspective:
How does cancer start?
Some people think:
“If someone in my family has cancer, I’m likely to get cancer too.”
Is that really the case—or it’s an exaggeration?
Let’s dive a little deeper to bring everything into a clearer perspective.
Chapter #1: The Genesis of Cancer: How Cancer Starts and Spread
Chapter #2: The 3 Disturbing Facts about Cancer
Chapter #3: Cancer Triggers: What Causes Cancer?
Chapter #4: How to Prevent Cancer Effectively
How Cancer Starts and Spread
Finding the definite cause of cancer is difficult because cancer doesn’t grow overnight. It takes time.
So, the surest way to stay cancer-free in today`s world is to understand its basic concepts.
So Let’s begin from the bases:
What’s a cancer cell?
What’s Cancer Cell
Cancer cells start to form from a change in one cell.
But the million-dollar question is:
How does it really start?
Naturally, our bodies have the correct number of each type of cell because cells produce signals to regulate how much and how often each cell divide.
When there is any signal mislay, a cell may start to grow and multiply to form a lump called a tumor. A primary tumor is where cancer begins. (Not all tumors are cancerous)
For cancer to grow, there must be gene alteration.
Gene alteration results from the interaction between persons’ genetic factors and external agents (carcinogens).
Genes carry the instructions that tell a cell which type of cell it will be, what it can do, and when to die. When the gene changes during cell division, mutation takes place–meaning that a gene is distorted, lost, or copied twice.
Sometimes, mutations happen by chance, but others mean the cell no longer understands instructions and start to grow out of control.
But here is one important fact that brings everything into perspective:
Before a normal cell turns into a cancer cell, there must be about half a dozen distinct mutations.
Therefore, cancer cell forms after half a dozen distinct mutations. The cancer cell ignores signals from other body cells and grows infinitely if not monitored.
What’s more—and this is pretty scary—cancer cells do not repair themselves when faulty, neither do they die. (Cancer Research UK)
In brief, that’s the genesis of cancer.
But here is a follow-up question:
How lethal is cancer in the real world? What are the recent cancer stats?
World's Cancer Statistic
Cancer Fact #1. Cancer is the second leading cause of death on the planet.
Cancer accounts for 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Universally, 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. (WHO)
This stat paints a clear picture.
Cancer isn`t “the next BIGGEST world killer.” It is already one. And when you take a closer look, a different picture unfolds.
An estimate of 70% of deaths from cancer occurs in low and middle-income countries. That’s parts of South America, Central America, Part of Asia, and Africa—majorly West Africa. (WHO)
Every person is at risk of getting cancer. But the statistic says, 70% of cancer deaths occur to those who cannot access diagnosis or lack the money to diagnose cancer.
Cancer Fact #2: 1/3 of death from cancer are due to the 5 leading lifestyle and behavioral habits
According to WHO, we can control 3.2million deaths by fine-tuning lifestyles and adjusting our behavioral patterns.
In fact, smoke causes 33% of cancer. (from tobacco, solid fuel, and air pollution)
But tobacco is the highest risk factor for cancer. It accounts for 22% of all cancer deaths.
Cancer Fact #3: The World Spends Trillion of Dollars on Cancer
In 2010 only, the annual economic cost of cancer was an estimate of US$ 1.16 trillion worldwide. And the figures are expected to go even higher as the world’s population ages and cancer prevalence increases.
Isn`t that a fortune we spend on cancer?
Imagine the impact $1.6 trillion can create.
Then re-imagine the cancer burden at a family level. And ask yourself what you can do to prevent your budget from making these statistics.
These real-world statistics paint a clear picture of cancer. They do away with theories on the subject.
They firmly emphasize that cancer is a real threat—a threat that can attack everyone.
It isn’t necessarily a risk factor if your family member has cancer. If it isn’t hereditary factors, you’re safe as the rest of the population.
But cancer is a threat already affecting a sizeable fraction of the world’s population. It is hard to ignore but dive into what causes cancer.
Cancer Triggers: What Causes Cancer?
Everyone wants to stay cancer-free.
Dozens of different, complicated conditions increase the chances of developing cancer, and research doesn’t clearly agree with some of them.
The best solution? You need to understand two things, not everything.
There are two types of cancer risk factors:
- Modifiable Risk of Cancer
- Non-modifiable Risks
Modifiable Risks Factors of Cancer
While the causes of most cancers aren’t fully understood, some well-recognized factors place an individual at risk of getting cancer.
Some of the risks are avoidable with lifestyle modification, while others, no measures can change the conditions.
Let’s start with the conditions one can modify.
Risk Factor 1: Poor Diet
A poor diet lacks primary food substrate and essential minerals.
However, is a diet less with vegetables and fruits a cancer threat?
Raw fruit and vegetable have active enzymes.
These enzymes help the pancreatin to digest all the food you take and get rid of used up cells in your body.
For instance, taking pawpaw supplies your body with the enzyme papain, which eases protein digestion and helps to get rid of used up cells.
But we majorly feed on cooked food, which isn`t bad. And most of the enzymes in cooked food are dead, leaving all the digestion tasks for the body enzymes. To some of us, the body enzymes do not get the work done well.
What`s more, there is every other food, which is a combination of salt-preserved food, processed meat, and alcohol. You eat them regularly, and you directly increase the risk of getting cancer.
So is it time you adjust your diet? For your diet hugely relates to the risk factor of cancer number two:
Risk Factor 2: Obesity
Primarily, obesity is a condition of having excess body fats. And it`s among the world`s GREATEST risk factors of cancer today.
Your body usually has adipose tissue. But when it has excess body fat, its adipose tissue might produce excess estrogen (a growth hormone.)
A high level of estrogen can result in breast and endometrial cancer. Living a cancer-free life might demand bodyweight management.
Risk Factor 3: Lack of Physical Activity
Love it or hate it, physical exercise works.
Exercise boosts the body’s metabolism.
A high body metabolism lowers the time food takes to reach the gut. Thus, the exposure time of your digestion track to cancer risk factors decreases.
In turn, the chances of getting cancer reduces.
And if you still find yourself coming up reasons why you can`t start exercising, it might be time to ask an uncomfortable question:
How badly do you need a healthy lifestyle?
[Exercise relation with cancer originally published by NCI.]
Risk Factor 4: Alcohol Consumption
Excess alcohol attacks the liver (Causes liver cirrhosis); therefore, it directly highers the chances of contracting liver cancer.
In fact, all types of alcoholic drinks highers the chances of getting mouth and throat cancer, voice box cancer, esophagus cancer, colon and rectum cancer, and breast cancer in women.
Risk Factor 5: Tobacco Use
Tobacco is the world`s leading cause of cancer and cancer deaths. It has a chemical that interacts with body DNA resulting in cell mutation.
And there is no scientifically proven amount of tobacco that you can safely consume. A cancer-free life demands you to quit exposure or use of tobacco.
Risk Factor 6: Exposure to Carcinogen
- Physical Carcinogen
Do you spend most of your time outdoors in the sunlight? Or have regular exposure to other ionizing radiations like X-rays, gamma radiation and beta radiations?
The ionizing effect of such radiations alters the cell DNA resulting in cell mutation. What`s more, they kill a large number of cells that it may be difficult for the body to get rid of at a particular time.
- Chemical Carcinogens.
Chemical components like asbestos, tobacco, smoke, aflatoxin, mercury, and arsenic are chemical poison to the cell.
They poison the genetic component, which is the mother basis of cancer cell formation.
- Biological carcinogens.
These are infection-causing bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
Viruses causing hepatitis and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) account for 25% of cancer cases in low and middle-income countries.
And finally, how do you lower the risks of getting cancer?
Non-Modifiable Risks of Cancer
These are conditions that no measures can change them. They include:
- Advanced Age
How to Prevent Cancer: 5 Cancer Prevention Tips
Surviving cancer is a battle. A battle not for the weak.
And a person staying cancer-free after the battle matters a ton. If you`ve never got cancer, knowing how to prevent it is indispensable.
Most types of cancer are lifestyle based. In fact, 1/3 of cancer death today are lifestyle-based.
Meaning, all you need is a precise lifestyle that`ll keep you cancer-free.
Here is a framework of how to prevent cancer:
How to Prevent Cancer #1: Master Your Diet
Cancer will die when you eat more raw food; fruit and vegetables.
Raw fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that ease digestion and help in digesting cancer cells that form daily in the human body. This way, you’ll create an anti-cancer environment in your body. Plus, you’ll be setting a new way to face cancer risks and living an anti-cancer life.
How to Prevent Cancer #2: Exercise Regularly
Exercise is crucial in both the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Physical exercise prevents cancer in several folds:
- Help in reducing inflammation
- Helps regulate blood sugar and sex hormone
- Improving metabolism and immune function
How to Prevent Cancer #3: Vaccinate
Cancer prevention includes protecting yourself from certain viral infections that increase the risk of getting cancer.
Get vaccinated against virus infections like:
- Hepatitis B
- Human Papillomavirus
How to Prevent Cancer #4: Get Screening Tests
Regular screening might find colon cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer at their initial stage when treatment is likely to work best.
How to Prevent Cancer #5: Avoid Occupational Carcinogens
More than 40 agents, mixture, and exposure circumstances in the working environment are carcinogenic.
Occupational cancer concentrates among a specific group of the working population for which the risk of getting particular cancer might be higher than the general population.
Avoid carcinogens at work like ionizing radiations and chemical carcinogens.
The Bottom Line:
Cancer is a scare in the modern world–an ordeal we can`t ignore.
The only problem?
It has no definite signs & symptoms. It is hard to tell when it is looming into one`s life.
Therefore, the best way to answer the question “how to prevent cancer” is:
- Understanding the basics of cancer
- Staying away from risk factors of cancer
- Regular screening (early detection makes diagnosis easy)
Concerning cancer treatment, there are controversies about the safety of surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy.
Some patients report that their cancer shifted to other body parts after conventional treatment.
Others have cancer returning after treatment.
And many others have fought cancer twice in their lifetime.
But some studies think that there are definite working RESULTS accompanied with very least side effects in non-convectional treatment.
Well, it might be true.
But if you or a family member has cancer, I bet you`d not gamble with cancer treatment.
You`d go for what`s already working out there.
Now I`d Like to Hear From You
I hope you found this how-to-prevent-cancer guide helpful.
Now I`d like to hear what you have to say:
Which measure are you going to observe most?
Are you going to laser-focus on avoiding risk factors of cancer?
Or maybe you want to start eating foods that prevent cancer?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment right below.
As a Chemical Analyst and a Health Content Writer, Oketch Joe uses both his academic and professional knowledge to break the scientific concepts into easy-to-read content to help people understand how they relate with their bodies.