It is difficult to find a person who has not died of cancer from any of the relatives, friends or acquaintances. Cancer prevention is a job that needs to be done systematically.
Approximately every fifth Ukrainian develops a malignant neoplasm during his life. Most of them are between the ages of 80–90 and therefore remain unnoticed, undiagnosed and included in the statistics of natural mortality until death.
In a strictly medical sense, cancer prevention measures are of two types: before the diagnosis and for those treated who are in positive dynamics or remission.
For healthy people, there are 2 types of prevention:
- primary prevention of cancer – a system of preventive measures aimed at preventing disease and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general (quitting smoking, alcohol, drugs, physical activity);
- secondary – a more serious approach, which includes, in addition to primary measures, a complex of diagnostic procedures, which are fully implemented at the hospital.
This is especially true for risk groups – people with a hereditary tendency to a specific type of carcinoma, working or living in unfavorable conditions, women after thirty for the study of the ovaries and breasts, men – for prostatitis. Consultation with an oncologist is always appropriate.
For previously treated:
- tertiary – constant medical supervision using laboratory tests for early detection of signs of recurrence, metastases or new tumors.
Patients who have not passed the remission period established for a specific oncotype are forced to turn to repeated radio and chemotherapy. Any procedure should be discussed with a doctor – soda for cancer prevention and other “good advice” from the Internet is a bad option.
Breast cancer prevention
Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women in the world. This is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the mammary glands.
Avoiding risk factors and consistently preventing breast cancer will help prevent it.
Risk factors include:
- elderly age;
- a personal history of a malignant or benign (non-cancerous) disease;
- inherited predisposition;
- thickened breast tissue;
- a reproductive history leading to greater estrogen exposure;
- hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms;
- radiation therapy to the breast;
- a reproductive history resulting in less estrogen exposure;
- hormone therapy only with estrogens after hysterectomy (removal of the uterus);
- risk-reducing or prophylactic mastectomy (removal of the glands).
The influence of such factors has not been finally scientifically substantiated:
- hormonal contraceptives;
- chemicals in the environment.
Prevention of cervical cancer
A tumor of the cervix develops mainly in sexually active women aged 30–45 years. The best prevention of cervical cancer is screening (the so-called “smear for cytology”).
All women between the ages of 25 and 50 should undergo this screening every year, and every 5 years between 50 and 64. In some regions, the sample is first tested for human papillomavirus (HPV). He is the main cause of the development of abnormal cells.
Therefore, vaccination against HPV of 4 types, as well as early immunization of girls from 12 to 13 years old, is recognized as effective in the fight against cervical cancer. In addition to secondary measures, general factors play an important role:
- quitting smoking – this habit reduces the effectiveness of HPV treatment;
- safe sex – the papilloma virus is transmitted not only through penetrative sex: it can be transmitted through any type of contact: skin to skin between the genitals, oral, vaginal or anal sex, and the use of sex toys;
- early and promiscuous sexual intercourse.
Cervical cancer is asymptomatic in the early stages, so regular testing is necessary.
Lung cancer prevention
20.3% of cancer patients in our country suffer from cancer of the trachea, bronchi and lungs . Of these, 20.5% are detected only at the 3-4th stage.
The main risk factors for cancer are:
- smoking in all forms: if in a couple, for example, only one partner smokes tobacco, then the risk for the other increases by 30%;
- living in chemically polluted (asbestos, mercury, nickel) industrial areas (coal mining);
- exposure to radiation (radiation therapy, nuclear power plant zone, uranium ore deposit);
- genetic predisposition.
If you can’t get away from the family history and you have to resort to instrumental diagnostic methods, then in other cases, the primary preventive measures will help:
- avoid exposure to tobacco smoke and hazardous chemicals;
- a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables;
- regular exercise;
- departure to ecologically favorable zones at least once a year for 2-3 weeks (sea, mountains, desert);
- annual chest imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI), medical examination.
Prevention of prostate cancer
From oncology of the prostate gland, 9.7% of Ukrainians with oncology die every year. Malignant neoplasms of the prostate rank second in mortality among other types of carcinomas in men.
Race, genes and age are things that cannot be changed: first of all, it is the disease of aging, and the risk of the Negroid race is 2 times higher than that of the Caucasian race, and for white men it is higher than that of Asians.
If your father, brother, or more than one blood relative has a prostate tumor, you are more likely to get it.
Prevention of prostate cancer is a set of necessary measures for all men aged 40–45 years. If you have the above risk prerequisites, then early screening will most often guarantee a positive result.
However, one should not underestimate the primary precautions – diet and healthy lifestyle:
- Reduce your trans fat intake and focus on healthy omega-3 fatty acids from nuts, seeds, and fish.
- More fruits and vegetables, leafy greens – they slow down the growth of abnormal prostate cells;
- avoid charred meat – it forms carcinogenic chemical compounds;
- physical activity, including sexual activity, detoxifies the body of toxins and other substances that can cause inflammation.
These steps will also help you avoid bladder problems.
Prevention of stomach cancer
About 17,000 new cases of the disease are registered in Ukraine every year, of which 90% are in the terminal stage. The experience of the USA and Europe, where the prevention of gastric cancer over the past 50–70 years has reduced gastric cancer to 3% of the total number of cancers, proves the need to change dietary habits.
- overeating and malnutrition, starvation, exhausting diets;
- the use of canned, smoked and pickled foods, salted and dried meat and fish;
- alcohol, especially when combined with fried fatty foods.
Instead, it follows:
- eat fresh vegetables and fruits (onions, garlic, citrus fruits), bread and pasta made from whole grain flour;
- control body weight and play sports.
Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can reduce the risk of developing certain types of gastric cancer. However, they can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and should not be used solely for prophylaxis.
And for people with a bad history, it is best to get screened annually.
Bowel cancer prevention
Malignant tumors of the intestinal walls rank second among oncological diseases in people over 50 years old. Nevertheless, it is one of the most preventable types – detection at an early stage guarantees almost 90% curability.
Reducing known lifestyle-related risk factors and regular bowel exams – secondary prevention of bowel cancer – are vital tools in reducing the risk of developing the disease.
Therefore, screening every 1–2 years can reduce mortality by up to 33%. It is important to pass it if (as the significance decreases):
- you have a negative family history (≈ 20% of patients)
- polyps on the intestinal mucosa;
- chronic gastrointestinal diseases (reflux, esophagitis, mucosal inflammation, ulcerative colitis);
- overweight and an immobile lifestyle.
Either way: eat less red meat, alcohol, don’t smoke, eat fiber, and exercise more.
Early diagnosis is important, but can and how can cancer be prevented at all? Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate that cancer prevention can prevent up to 75% of deaths.
Here are ten rules:
1. Avoid tobacco. This is not only the prevention of lung cancer, and the prevention of tongue cancer, but also the symptoms of other diseases.
2. Eat right. Eat a minimum of saturated fat and red meat – these increase your risk of colon carcinoma and more aggressive prostate cancer. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
4. Stay slim. Obesity increases the risk of many forms of cancer, especially liver cancer, which begins with fatty degeneration of this organ.
3. Exercise regularly. Exercise also lowers the risk of breast cancer and, colon cancer, ovarian cancer .
5. Limit alcohol – excess alcohol provokes cancer of the tongue, mouth, larynx, esophagus, liver and colon. Smoking further exacerbates the risk of malignant neoplasms.
6. Avoid exposure to radiation. Get x-rays, CT scans, and radiation therapy only if necessary. Check your home for radon in your living quarters, a possible cause of lung carcinomas.
Protect yourself from direct UV radiation, do not sunbathe on the beach or in solariums – treatments for melanoma and other types of skin cancer are not always successful.
7. Avoid exposure to industrial and environmental toxins: asbestos fibers, benzene, aromatic amines, etc.
8. Avoid infections that cause cancer: hepatitis viruses, HIV and HPV.
9. Sleep well. Poor and inadequate sleep is associated with weight gain, a cancer factor.
10. Get enough vitamin D, up to 25 mcg per day, to reduce the risk of ovarian, esophageal and renal carcinoma. This is a dose that cannot be achieved without supplementation. But don’t count on dietary supplements if you have a diagnosis.
There are no answers to the questions: how to live so as not to get cancer or how never to get cancer, but you can try to do everything that depends directly on you.