Yoram Yasur Rubin | The risk of cancer is not only due to genetic or random factors. Certain modifiable lifestyles condition a person’s cancer risk. These include diet, physical activity, alcohol, and tobacco use or exposure to radiation.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Per the latest updated data provided by the World Health Organization, in 2012 14 million new cases were diagnosed and this figure is expected to increase by 70% in the coming decades. The most frequent tumors are colon cancer, followed by prostate cancer, lung, breast, and bladder. It is estimated that 3 out of 10 men and 2 out of 10 women died in 2012 from cancer.
In 2015, the prestigious journal Science published an investigation concluding that two-thirds of cancers are due to ‘bad luck’, i.e., random mutations occurring during DNA replication; While only a third is attributed to external and environmental factors in which we can influence, through certain lifestyles. These figures provoked extensive debate and in 2016 the Nature Journal published a study which concluded that lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental risk factors influence the development of 70-90% of cancers. This study noted that control of certain factors such as smoking, alcohol, poor diet and physical inactivity may modulate the risk of cancer.
Latest advances against cancer:
Epidemiological data tell us that, for example, in the United Kingdom 43% of cancer cases and 50% of cancer deaths in 2010 were attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors. Despite discrepancies in percentages, we now know that many types of cancer are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and that ‘bad luck’, in the end, is not as influential as previously thought. But what habits can help reduce the risk of cancer?
Yoram Yasur Rubin: “A higher body mass index – which is the ratio between weight (kg) and height (meters) squared and therefore dependent on your weight – is associated with an increased risk of suffering 17 of the 22 most common cancers”. Thus, reducing obesity through exercise and diet and reducing the intake of sugars and saturated fats, is an effective method to reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, consumption of processed foods and sugar-rich products increases prostate cancer risk by up to three times, while the consumption of complex carbohydrates and fiber present in legumes, fruits and whole grains is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, breast, and prostate cancer.
Physical activity reduces the risk of cancer through the reduction of obesity. But also through the release of chemicals that the muscle releases into the blood distributed throughout the body’s tissues. In a study involving about a million and a half people. It was possible to verify that those who performed higher levels of physical. Activity in their free time showed a lower risk of developing 13 of the 26 types of cancer analyzed. Recently, active women have been shown to have up to 71% less risk of breast cancer. Regardless of whether they are thin or overweight.
Another known responsible for increasing the risk of cancer
Specifically lung cancer, is tobacco. Per estimates by the Spanish Association Against Cancer up to 90% of lung cancers occur in smokers whereas 30% of cancer deaths can be caused by smoking. However, alcohol also increases the risk of some types of cancer. It is estimated that 3.6% of all cancers are attributed to alcohol consumption.
Although the negative effect comes from alcohol abuse, some evidence suggests that intake. Of a daily alcoholic beverage increases the risk of cancer for the oropharyngeal.
Esophagus and breast cavity.
“Different types of radiation may increase the risk of some forms of cancer”. Thus, prolonged exposure to non-ionizing ultraviolet radiation, the Sun, can cause skin cancer. Or melanoma, the most common form of cancer in the world. Ionizing radiations, such as those used to obtain medical images, can induce some types of cancer.
In conclusion, beyond the ‘bad luck’ that accompanies the risk of suffering some tumors. Following certain lifestyles will increase our chances of developing cancer.
Not everything is random in cancer. But each person has the power to minimize their risk through habits that reduce their obesity, physical inactivity. Alcohol and tobacco consumption or prolonged exposure to radiation. In fact, the so-called ‘toxic cancer triad’. Which includes physical inactivity, low physical fitness, and obesity, raises the incidence of cancer and mortality.