Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2015 Contents A26
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, October 10, 2015
The best 13 ways to stave off cancer have been
revealed, after new research found one in three deaths
from the disease could be prevented.
A study by cancer experts in Australia found 90 per
cent of all cancer deaths were caused by just five high-
risk factors—smoking, exposure to the sun, body weight,
bad diet and alcohol. And five more, ranging from the
contraceptive pill to breastfeeding, were revealed as
helping or hindering cancer’s takeover of the body,
according to the research published in the Australian
and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
“This is a call to action,” said Professor Sanchia
Aranda, from the Cancer Council, which helped fund
“It’s time to bust the myth that everything gives
you cancer and do more to reduce the risks that we
know cause cancer.”
The study was carried out by the QMIR Berghofer
Medical Research Institute in Queensland, spearheaded
by Professor David Whiteman. It found that kicking
a nicotine habit, and covering up under the sun’s pow-
erful rays, could together prevent nearly 23,000 cancers
a year. Changes to diet, and an hour’s exercise a day,
also came in as top life-preserving advice.
According to the advice, the 13 steps to significantly
reduce the risk of cancer, in descending order of impor-
1 Stopping smoking. This notoriously difficult habit
to break sees tar build-up in the lungs and DNA
alteration and causes 15,558 cancer deaths a year.
2 Avoiding the sun. Melanoma comes with
overexposure to harmful UV rays. Avoiding sun could
help conscientious shade-lovers dodge being one of the
7,220 people who die from it.
3 A diet low in red meat. This can help to prevent
bowel cancer, according to the research—with 30 grams
a day recommended for men, and 25 a day
recommended for women.
4 Eating high fibre foods. Foods high in fibre make
for healthier bowels. Processed foods in developed
countries appear to be causing higher rates of colon
cancer than diets in continents such as Africa, which
have high bean and pulse intakes.
5 Eating fruits and veggies. Two servings of fruit
and three servings of vegetables a day were given as
the magic number for good diet in the research. Overall,
diet causes only slightly fewer cancer deaths than sun
exposure in Australia, at 7,000 a year.
6 Fighting the fat. Obesity and being overweight,
linked to poor diet and lack of exercise, causes 3,917
deaths by cancer a year on its own.
7 Getting medical checkups & vaccinations. Dying
of a cancer caused by infection also comes in highly,
linked to 3,421 cancer deaths a year. Infections such as
human papilloma virus—which can cause cervical
cancer in women—and hepatitis—can be prevented by
vaccinations and having regular check-ups.
8 Cutting back on alcohol. Cutting back on drinks
could reduce the risk of cancers caused by alcohol—
such as liver cancer, bowel cancer, breast cancer and
mouth cancer—that are leading to 3,208 deaths a year
9 Stopping the sloth. Sitting around and not getting
the heart pumping—less than one hour’s exercise a
day—is directly leading to about 1,800 people having
lower immune functions and higher hormone levels,
which, among other factors, help cause cancers.
10 Hormone replacement therapy. This is used to
relieve symptoms of the menopause in women. But it
caused 539 deaths from (mainly breast) cancer in
Australia last year. It did, however, prevent 52 cases of
11 Insufficient breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for 12
months could prevent 235 cancer cases a year, said the
12 Oral contraceptives, like the Pill, caused about 105
breast cancers and 52 cervical cancers—but it also
prevented about 1,440 ovarian and uterine (womb)
cases of cancer last year
13 Taking aspirin also prevented 232 cases in the
Queensland research of colorectal and oesophagal
cancers—but as it can also cause strokes, is not yet
recommended as a formal treatment against the risk of
Professor Whitehead said any lifestyle changes needed
to be committed to in the long-term to have any effect
on preventing cancer in later life.
“It can’t be done by drinking a fruit smoothie once
a week, it’s not a quick fix, it’s a long-term lifestyle
change,” he said.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Two servings of
fruit and three
vegetables a day
were given as the
magic number for
Cancer experts reveal 13 ways to help prevent disease
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