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Cancer Prevention: Empowering Yourself Through Lifestyle Choices

May 18, 2023

9 min read

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Author : United We Care
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Cancer Prevention: Empowering Yourself Through Lifestyle Choices


Cancer is one of the scariest diseases anyone can face. If, like me, you are worried about getting cancer or have a family history, then we need to understand what steps we can take toward cancer prevention. We can include certain activities and changes in our lifestyle so that we can improve our health and reduce the chances of developing cancer. Although governments, scientists, and doctors have come a long way in giving ideas and technologies for cancer prevention in the last 30 years, there is still a lot of research and technological advancements that can be done [2]. In this article, I will be discussing what you can do to prevent cancer and what challenges you can face.

“Love and laughter are two of the most important universal cancer treatments on the planet. Overdose on them.” – Tanya Masse [1]

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What is the Role of Cancer Prevention?

Like me, if you also come from a history of cancer in the family, it becomes even more important to take preventive measures. That is the role of cancer prevention- to lower the chances of developing cancer by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Let me share with you certain strategies you can use for cancer prevention [2] [3]:

role of cancer prevention

  1. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Our lifestyle choices have a lot to do with our health. Making healthy lifestyle choices is very important to protect ourselves from cancer and other diseases. Make sure to add at least 30 minutes of exercise to your routine, along with eating a healthy and nutritious diet. Also, you can reduce alcohol consumption, quit smoking, and avoid tobacco altogether.
  2. Healthy Diet: If you want to lower the risk of cancer, the most important factor is your diet. Make sure to add lots of whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and less salt and sugar to your meal plans. Plus, you need to cut down on saturated fats and eat unsaturated fats, which means reducing red meat consumption and adding lean meat like chicken breasts and fatty fish to your diet.
  3. Regular Screenings: Specifically, if you come from a history of cancer in the family, you should go for regular checkups. You can go for screenings such as skin checks, mammograms, and colonoscopies. These screenings can help you and doctors detect cancer in the early stages itself so that treatments can be designed more effectively.
  4. Avoiding Carcinogens: There are certain substances that, by default, can cause cancer. Such substances are called carcinogens. that can cause cancer. For example, tobacco, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, ‘sugar-free’ foods, etc.
  5. Genetic Counseling and Testing: Some people, who have a family history of cancer, might go for genetic counseling and testing. That way, if needed, you can go for genetic testing and check how prone you are to testing. For example, if you have seen ‘The Bold Type,’ then you might have seen Jane Sloan go for genetic testing, where she found that she was definitely prone to breast cancer, and just as a precaution, she went for a mastectomy.

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What are the Benefits of Cancer Prevention?

Cancer prevention has three aspects to it, depending upon your symptoms: [4]

  • Primary Prevention: Here, you avoid coming in contact with carcinogens and improve life choices to reduce the risks. For example, quitting smoking, wearing sunblock creams, etc.
  • Secondary Prevention: In this stage, it is important to look into reversing, blocking, or slowing the spreading of the cancer cells, probably through medication.
  • Tertiary Prevention: In this stage, you will have to go for surgery to suppress or remove precancerous areas.

The good thing is that 50-80% of cancers are preventable through proper care and interventions [5].

There are several benefits of cancer prevention, including [6]:

benefits of cancer prevention

  1. Reduced Risk of Developing Cancer: Cancer prevention can make you more aware of your lifestyle choices and habit. From the time you start adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can start reducing the risk of cancer. As I mentioned before, healthy lifestyle choices include exercising, eating healthy, quitting smoking, etc.
  2. Improved Overall Health: When you adopt a healthy lifestyle, automatically, your overall health also starts improving. When you reduce alcohol, quit smoking, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet, you can lower the risk of other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, etc.
  3. Early Cancer Detection: If you get routine screenings done, then they can help you to identify cancer early. In the first stage, cancer is most treatable, which improves outcomes and increases chances of survival.
  4. Lower Healthcare Costs: Let’s face it, treatment of cancer is expensive. Even if you have insurance or the government pays for your healthcare, they will not be able to cover everything. So, it’s important to work toward preventing cancer to save costs.
  5. Improved quality of life: Cancer treatment can have a huge impact on your overall health. You can be irritable, feel dishearted, trigger anxiety and depression, and cause other chronic diseases. So, instead of dealing with so much in one go, take precautions to prevent cancer.

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What are the Challenges of Cancer Prevention?

There are no free lunches in the world. So, even if you go to do good, you can face challenges, even in your cancer prevention journey [7]:

  1. You may not have knowledge around the risk factors.
  2. You may not learn how to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk.
  3. even if you do adopt a healthy lifestyle, you may not be able to stick to it in the long term.
  4. You may live or work at a place that exposes you to carcinogens.
  5. You may not have proper healthcare  facilities in your area where you can get screenings done.
  6. You can have genes passed down by your parents or grandparents that make you more prone to cancer.
  7. You may not have the funds to support the efforts needed to prevent cancer.

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What is the Future of Cancer Prevention?

Finding newer technologies and methods to prevent cancer is the need of the hour. Cancer is said to be more of an emotional disorder as well. So, with the right measures, many people who are prone to it also can get benefited. Some critical areas that focus needs to be put on are [8]:

future of cancer prevention

  1. Personalized Prevention: Many scientists and doctors are working toward making advancements in genetics and personalized medicine. That way, you can get a more targeted cancer prevention strategy as it would be based on your genetic and lifestyle factors.
  2. Environmental and Occupational Prevention: Governments and corporates need to make an effort in identifying if there are any specific areas that have substances that can cause cancer. If there are, then they need to inform you if you live and work in such conditions so that you can make more efforts in reducing the exposure. In fact, governments and corporates should take measures to support you and other people in the areas.
  3. Health Education and Awareness: The health ministry of each country should create campaigns and awareness through workshops in schools, etc. If you have the awareness, wouldn’t you take precautions? In that case, you will be able to make informed decisions about your health.
  4. Advancements in Screening Technology: Newer screening technologies are coming up. So if private sector or government sector hospitals can provide you and other people with these new screening devices, you will able able to get more accurate results and be able to get an early diagnosis.
  5. Policy Changes: In certain countries, there are only specific areas where you can smoke. If all governments start following such policies, the world can suffer less from cancer and other diseases. Similarly, you can even create a zone for yourself that is smoke-free and chemical-free.

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Cancer is a scary disease. So, if, in any case, you can avoid getting cancer, I feel everyone should take those steps. Cancer prevention is important to avoid getting cancer and lead a healthy life. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can help yourself a lot. Even though there might be certain challenges you may face, you can find a way out for yourself.

For any wellness or mental health concerns, you can connect with our expert counselors or explore content at United We Care! At United We Care, a team of professionals and mental health experts will guide you with the best methods for well-being.

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[1] “A quote by Tanya Masse.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/6682199-love-and-laughter-are-two-of-the-most-important-universal

[2] A. Umar, B. K. Dunn, and P. Greenwald, “Future directions in cancer prevention – Nature Reviews Cancer,” Nature, Nov. 15, 2012. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrc3397

[3] “How to Prevent Cancer or Find It Early | CDC,” How to Prevent Cancer or Find It Early | CDC, May 19, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/prevention/index.htm

[4] F. L. Meyskens et al., “Cancer Prevention: Obstacles, Challenges, and the Road Ahead,” JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vol. 108, no. 2, Nov. 2015, doi: 10.1093/ji/djv309.

[5] D. B. Weinstein, “Cancer Prevention: Recent Progress and Future Opportunities1,” AACR journals, no. 51, 1991, [Online]. Available: http://aacrjournals.org/cancerres/article-pdf/51/18_Supplement/5080s/2444667/cr0510185080s.pdf

[6] K. Bramlet, “The positive side effects of cancer prevention,” MD Anderson Cancer Center. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/cancer-prevention-benefits.h31Z1590624.html

[7] J. J. Mao et al., “Integrative oncology: Addressing the global challenges of cancer prevention and treatment,” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 144–164, Nov. 2021, doi: 10.3322/caac.21706.

[8] P. Greenwald, “The Future of Cancer Prevention,” Seminars in Oncology Nursing, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 296–298, Nov. 2005, doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2005.06.005.

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