Cancer: Its Causes, Prevention Strategies, and Effective Management.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a group of diseases where abnormal cells in the body grow out of control. These cells can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body, a process called metastasis, which is a big reason why cancer can be deadly. Cancer is also called a neoplasm or malignant tumor.

It's the second leading cause of death worldwide, causing about 1 in 6 deaths in 2018. Generally, the common types of cancer most often seen in men are lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer. In women, breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancer are the most common.

Cancer is a big burden on individuals, families, and healthcare systems. Many countries, especially those with lower incomes, struggle to handle the growing number of cancer cases. This means that lots of people around the world don't get the right diagnosis or treatment on time.

But in places with strong healthcare systems, survival rates are improving. This is because of better ways to detect cancer early, good treatment options, and support for people who have survived cancer.

Cancer Causes

The things that cause cancer aren't all fully understood yet. But we do know that certain chemicals, things in the environment, and other factors can mess up our cells and lead to cancer. These troublemakers are called carcinogens. Some examples include tobacco, sunlight (UV radiation), and asbestos.

Many cancers have similar risk factors:

  • Two out of every three long-term smokers die because of smoking.
  • About 4.5% of cancers happen because of drinking alcohol.
  • Some cancers come from what we eat, infections, or being exposed to radiation like sunlight (which can cause skin cancer, so watch out for changes in moles).
  • Sometimes, cancers come from genes that aren't working right and are passed down in families.
  • But cancer isn't caused by any injury or feeling stressed out.
  • It's important to know that not all cancers are caused by these things. Sometimes, cancer can just happen without any clear reasons.

Cancer Prevention and Effective Management:

Stay Safe from Sexually Transmitted Infections.

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like HPV, hepatitis, and HIV can lead to different types of cancer. Protecting yourself from these infections can lower your risk. 
  • Always practice safer sex to reduce your chances of getting an STI.
  • It's also important to follow HPV vaccine recommendations. Children and adults should get vaccinated between 9 to 12 years old. 
  • This vaccine helps prevent cancer later in life. But even if you're older, up to age 26 or even 45, you can still get the vaccine. Talk to a healthcare provider.

Important Tips.

  • If your child's healthcare provider doesn't mention the HPV vaccine during their regular vaccinations, make sure to ask for it.
  • If you're an adult and haven't received the HPV vaccine, talk to a healthcare provider about getting it. If you're not sure whether you've already had the vaccine, ask your parents or try to find your vaccine record.
  • When it's suitable, talk to your children about being responsible with sex and practicing safer sex.

Stay Safe in the Sun and Skip Tanning Beds.

  • Even though the sun feels nice and warm, too much time in it can cause skin cancer, like melanoma. 
  • Tanning beds can also be really bad for your skin. Skin damage can happen early in life, so it's super important to protect kids from too much sun exposure.

Sun Safety Tips.

  • Avoid being out in the sun during the middle of the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest.
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible when you're outside. It's also helpful to wear sunglasses and a hat with a wide brim.
  • Cover up your skin with clothing that shields you from the sun. Dark or bright colors are better because they reflect more of the sun's harmful rays.
  • Always use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even if it's cloudy outside. Put on a good amount of sunscreen and reapply it every two hours or more often if you've been swimming or sweating.
  • Avoid using tanning beds or sun lamps because they can be just as harmful as being in the sun.

Cut Down on Drinking Alcohol.

  • Drinking alcohol can raise the risk of getting six types of cancer. Even having just half to one drink per day can increase the chances of breast and colon cancer. 
  • The best choice for your health is to have zero alcohol overall.

Tips for Cutting Down on Alcohol.

  • Pick non-alcoholic drinks when you're having meals or going to parties.
  • Try to avoid events or places where alcohol is the main focus.
  • Take help from professionals when required. 
  • When it's the right time, talk to your kids about the risks of drugs and alcohol. 

Eating Healthy Made Easy.

  • Eating healthy isn't complicated. Eat whole or Natural food, like veggies, fruits, and whole grains. Try to eat less red meat and processed meats.
  • Be careful with bad fats like saturated and trans fats. Instead, go for good fats like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Simple Tips for Eating Healthy.

  • Include fruits and veggies in every meal. Add fruit to your cereal and snack on veggies.
  • Pick chicken, fish, or beans over red and processed meats.
  • Opt for whole-grain cereal and whole-wheat bread instead of sugary cereals and white bread.
  • Use olive or canola oil in your cooking for healthy fats.
  • Try to eat less fast food and store-bought snacks like cookies.
  • Eating a healthy diet is best, but if you often miss out on essential nutrients, think about taking a standard multivitamin.

Say No to Tobacco.

  • Using tobacco in any form can cause serious health problems, including cancer. Smoking can lead to various types of cancer like lung, mouth, throat, voice box, pancreas, bladder, cervix, and kidney cancer. 
  • Even being around someone who smokes (secondhand smoke) can increase your risk of lung cancer.
  • But it's not just smoking cigarettes that's dangerous. Chewing tobacco can also cause cancer, especially in the mouth, throat, and pancreas. So, it's best to avoid all forms of tobacco to stay healthy.

Tips for Quitting Tobacco.

  • Keep trying! It might take several tries before you quit for good but don't give up.
  • Talk to a doctor about quitting. Getting help from a doctor can double your chances of success.
  • Have a conversation with your kids about the dangers of smoking, vaping, and using smokeless tobacco. Lead by example and be tobacco-free yourself to send the best message to them.

Stay Fit and Active.

  • Keeping a healthy weight might reduce the chance of getting certain cancers like breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney cancer.
  • Exercise is important too. Apart from helping with weight control, being physically active might also lower the risk of breast and colon cancer.
  • Any kind of physical activity is good for your health. But for the best results, aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.

Simple Tips for Staying Fit and Active.

  • Add fruits and veggies to every meal. Put fruit on your cereal and snack on veggies.
  • Pick chicken, fish, or beans over red and processed meats.
  • Use olive or canola oil in your cooking for healthy fats.
  • Avoid white bread and sugary cereals and eat whole-grain cereal and whole-wheat bread. 
  • Try to eat less fast food and store-bought snacks like cookies.
  • Eating a healthy diet is the way to go, but if you struggle to get all the nutrients you need, think about taking a standard multivitamin.

Don't Miss Your Screening Tests:

Some really important tests can help catch cancer early when it's easier to treat. And some tests can even help stop cancer from starting at all.

Talk to your doctor about getting screened at these ages.

  • At age 21: Cervical cancer screening
  • At age 40: Breast cancer screening. Prostate cancer screening (For African American men and others at highest risk, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of screening)
  • At age 45: Colon cancer screening. Prostate cancer screening (For men at average risk, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of screening)
  • At age 50: Lung cancer screening (For people who smoke or used to smoke)

Be aware and Take care.  

365Bloggy March 8, 2024
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