One in three men and one in four women develop cancer throughout their lives. There are more than 200 different types of tumors, with particular causes and characteristics.
There are two ways to address cancer prevention, on the one hand, by adopting a series of healthy habits that we should all follow, on the other, giving the importance it deserves to certain activities of early diagnosis and health education:
Primary Prevention of Cancer
This is the set of actions that lead to the reduction of the incidence of cancer cases by eliminating the possible causal factors. The European Code Against Cancer summarizes the most important measures of primary prevention:
1. Do not smoke or quit as soon as possible. That includes all types of tobacco. It is the main preventable cause of cancer. In addition to your lungs, larynx, esophagus, oral cavity or stomach, among many other organs, they will thank you.
2. Avoid obesity (BMI over 30) and maintain a balanced and healthy normal weight (BMI between 18.5 and 24.9). An excess of body fat is related to more likely to suffer cancer of the kidney, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, breast, ovaries, and endometrium.
3. Do some physical activity of moderate intensity every day, at least for 30 minutes. Turn your back on a sedentary lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of having breast or endometrial tumors or colorectal cancer.
4. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables (four or five servings per day), take two or three servings a day of protein, and ingest 30 gr. of fiber.
5. Limit the consumption of foods that contain saturated fats of animal origin or butter, red meat, products with excess salt, too caloric foods or drinks with excess sugar.
6. It is advisable to take crude olive oil, include in your diet bluefish, legumes, whole grains and, in a moderate way, nuts. Some products, such as hawthorn, evening primrose or crustaceans such as Krill contain W3 fatty acids ( cellular antioxidants ) that can help reduce the chances of suffering from certain tumors.
7. Drink eight glasses of water daily.
8. Control alcohol consumption, or much better, avoid it altogether. Decreasing the intake of alcoholic drinks from ‘four or more’ daily to ‘one or none’ can reduce the risk of liver cancer by 21%; the colon by 31%, and the breast by 30%.
9. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun. This recommendation is especially important in the smallest. To prevent the appearance of skin cancers use sunscreen, avoid hours of maximum exposure to the sun and do away with the use of UVA cabins.
10. Apply legislation to the workplace to prevent any exposure to substances that may cause cancer. Apply the rules of radiological protection.
11. Reduce the natural levels of radon – a type of natural radioactive gas – present in your home in case of being exposed to this type of radiation, since it increases the risk of lung cancer. There are plastic detectors to measure the radon concentration in your home.
12. Remember that breastfeeding protects against breast cancer, being able to reduce its risk of occurrence up to 4%.
13. Limit the treatments based on hormone replacement therapy, since they can increase the risk of suffering from some types of cancer.
Secondary Prevention of Cancer
The primary prevention measures must be completed with activities of early diagnosis and health education of the population in what is called, in general, secondary prevention.
Early diagnosis is the set of activities that aim to detect the disease before it manifests clinically, and thus begin treatment early. The effectiveness of early diagnosis of cancer has been clearly demonstrated in three cancers: breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.
The health education means to publicize the early signs of cancer for which an individual should consult your doctor. There are public health programs that can prevent cancer or increase the chance of curing cancer that has already appeared:
- Women age 25 and older should be screened for cervical cancer early.
- Women over 50 should have a mammogram for the early detection of breast cancer.
- Men and women over 50 should undergo screening for early colon cancer.
- Vaccination programs against the hepatitis B virus, such as prevention of liver cancer, and vaccination against human papillomavirus as prevention of cervical cancer.