Nutrition & Cancer Prevention

Prevention and early detection are two of the most important and effective strategies in the field of cancer treatment.

Prevention includes measures that stop cancer from developing. Early detection (screening) includes examination and tests intended to find cancer early and if possible (ideally before it has spread) when it can be treated most effectively with fewest possible side effects. Both prevention and early detection are high priority.

Nutrition and cancer prevention.
Evidence indicates that although genetics is a major factor in the development of cancer, cancer cannot be explained by heridity only. Personal behaviour like cigarette smoking, dietary choice, and physical activity modify the risk of cancer at all stages of its development. The introduction of a healthy diet and exercise at any time from childhood to old age can promote health and reduce cancer risk.

Many dietary factors can affect cancer risk, such as types of food, food preparation methods, portion sizes, food variety and overall calorie balance. Cancer risk can be reduced by an overall dietary pattern that includes a high proportion of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains and beans), limited amounts of meat, dairy and other high fat foods and a balance of calorie intake and physical activity.

Guidelines on Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Prevention.

  • Choose most of the food you eat from plant sources.

Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat other food from plant sources, such as rice, wheat, cereals, grain products, pasta or beans , pulses, several times each day.

  • Limit your intake of high fat food, particularly from animal sources.
    • Choose food low in fat.
    • Limit consumption of meats, specially high fat meats.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight: Be physically active.

Excercise or at least be moderately active for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week.

  • Do not take alcohol or limit consumption if you drink at all.

Environmental causes account for over half of all cancers. They are lifestyles (smoking, diet etc). The rest arise in community and workplace settings. For example, Asbestos and aniline dyes from industrial pollution, aflatoxins from food lead to cancers. The extent of cancer hazard posed by voluntary and involuntary risks again depends on the concentration or intensity of the carcinogen and the exposure dose received. In places where high levels of carcinogens are present and exposures are extensive, significant hazards exist but where concentrations are low and exposures limited, hazards are often negligible.

However, when low dose exposures are widespread, they can represent significant public health hazards (for example, second hand tobacco smoke). Strong regulatory control and safe occupational practices are required to minimize the workplace potential for exposure to high dose carcinogens.

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