New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: As per the World Health Organization (WHO), annually, 1 in 6 deaths happen because of cancer and around 70% of deaths happen in developing and underdeveloped countries. Today is World Cancer Day which is observed on February 4 to spread awareness about the life-threatening disease. Therefore, in regards to the special day, we are addressing some important issues on cancer with the help of cancer specialist Dr. Manish Singhal who spoke to us exclusively. Dr. Singhal has shed some light on the general risks of cancer and what precautions that you can take to lower the chances of developing this chronic disease.

Risks of developing cancer

As per medical science, there are no known causes behind cancer. But, certain factors of lifestyle and other things can increase the chances for you to develop cancer. When asked Dr. Singhal about the general risk factors of this dangerous health issue, he said, “1/3rd of total cancer we see is preventable. But, smoke and tobacco intake in anyform is one of the leading causes of cancer worldwide.” Further, he listed down some of the most common risks of developing cancer:

Smoking:  As per Dr. Singhal, “Tobacco intake and smoking can not just cause lung cancer but may increase the chances of developing other forms of cancers too. This is because, when you smoke, it not just affects your lungs but, areas like lips, cheeks, tongue, tonsils, throat, thyroid are all exposed to it. Therefore, you never know which part of your body may get affected.”

Alcohol: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers in larynx, throat, mouth, colon, esophagus, liver and more. Lesser alcohol can reduce the risk of such cancers. 

Obesity: Dr. Singhal said, "fatty liver happens because of obesity and many people don’t understand this and say 'I look fine, just a little bulge on the tummy won't matter much, but this can be serious in some cases. Obesity leads to kidney cancer, blood cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, liver cancer can happen due to a sedentary lifestyle not working out properly." He further added, "obesity also leads to the change in gut microflora which can also lead to some immunogenic effects which can result into cancer. Also, obese people secrete insulin-like substances which can act as the growth factor for cancer cells as well."

Eating habits: As per studies, junk food or the packaged foods have high chances of containing pesticides and preservatives which can increase the potential risk of cancer. Foods that are overheated can also turn carcinogenic that can be very dangerous. 

Stress: Stress can cause a number of health problems. But when people are not able to tolerate the stress in their daily lives, they tend to switch to the common stress-busting techniques like smoking and taking alcohol which again adds to the increase in risk of cancer. 

Air pollution: The number of small particles in the air like PM10 and PM2.5 are linked to lung cancers caused by pollution.

Preventions of cancer

Quit smoking totally: As mentioned above smoking is one of the leading causes of developing cancer. Therefore, it is a big no-no when it comes to taking tobacco.

Lower down the alcohol intake- Alcohol consumption needs to be reduced as it can increase the risk of having cancer. Dr. Singhal said, "even if one desires to take in a very limited quantity 50ml of hard drinks for males and 25ml of hard drinks for females is recommended on a daily basis and not more than that. That doesn’t mean that if one didn’t drink for the whole week and they are having it 250ml in one go. That is incorrect and should be avoided. In one go not more than 2 pints of beers for males and 1 pint for females should be taken."

Regular exercises: Regular exercising can reduce obesity and keep you fit which leads to lower risk of getting cancer.

Good foods: Recommending a healthy diet, Dr. Singhal mentioned that all the colours of food should be included in your diet. He said, "All colours of dal, all colours of seasonal vegetables. All colours of roughage food, red green yellow and all colours of fruits. Every vegetable has some deficiencies and some sufficiencies. It can be sufficient in some vitamins and minerals, while deficient in some. You got to mix all colours in pulses, veggies and fruits. Eat in a manner that u don’t become obese and exercise regularly."  

Posted By: Sanyukta Baijal