Friday, 15 July 2011

Live right, stop cancers

It Is a matter of concern to see a steady rise in cancers among women in recent years. It is unfortunate that women in their 30s, who do not have any family history, are suffering from cancers unlike in the old days when cancer was considered an age-related ailment. Clearly, urban living is taking its toll. 

Simple preventive actions can reduce some of these risk factors.


Pollution is known to be one of the contributors for cancer, for example, pesticides in farming.

Stay safe: Choose a relatively clean area to live in. Limit exposure to pollution by using non-polluting modes of transport like the underground. Find out the source of your produce, poultry and fish. Organic food is a good option.
A fat-rich diet can be a contributor to cancer. The younger generation swaps green leafy vegetables, dietary fibre and whole foods for fast, packaged, heat-and-eat food which contain additivies and preservatives (carcinogens).
Stay safe: Eat home-cooked food with plenty of fibre (35 g/day) and whole foods. Green leafy vegetables, pulses and oats are a good source of fibre. Avoid refined sugar, flour, white bread, pasta, fries and other fatty foods.
Tobacco is a major contributor to head and neck cancers. It can affect other organs as well. Smoking is a major cause of cancers. Passive smoking is known to expose women to non-small cell lung cancers. Avoiding breastfeeding is counter-productive as is the use of unhygienic sanitary napkins (exposure to infection and cervical cancers). Certain oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) and hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) can make patients vulnerable to cancer (although recent studies have actually proved the opposite). Delayed age of conception and obesity are also considered risk factors.
Stay safe: Stop smoking, plan your family early and make it a point to breastfeed your baby. Consult your gynaecologist before considering OCP and HRT. Make sure you exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
My top tip
Move to clean, organic food; adopt a healthy lifestyle and schedule an annual check-up especially if you are above 40. You pay more upfront, but the costs are lower in the long term.

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