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Ten simple ways to prevent cancer and live long

Cancer is a nasty disease and every now and then leads to death. Nigeria is no different, according to the WHO, about 30 Nigerians die every hour from the disease, and by the time we reach then end of the year, about 80,000 people who have passed away as a result of having cancer. What’s even more alarming is that experts believe the cases of cancer in Nigeria is seriously under reported and expect the number of cases to increase in the coming years.

The truth is that about a third of cancer cases are preventable and it is possible to live a cancer free life. To help you achieve, here are steps you can take reduce your chances of developing cancer.

1. Stop taking sugary drinks: Consumption of sugary drinks have not been considered risk factors for developing diabetes and being overweight, they can also cause cancer. Consumption of the drinks can significantly increase your risk of developing cancer as they can lead to weight gain.

2. Become more active: Sitting around all day increases your chances of developing colon and endometrial cancer. If you are constantly tied to your desk while at work, or wrapped up on the couch where at home, it is time to stand and start that fight against cancer. By walking around for a few minutes every hour, you can significantly cut down your risks.

3. Aim for a healthy weight:  Being overweight increases your chances of developing cancer, so developing a target of keeping your BMI between 20 to 25.

4. Have a healthy diet: Eat more vegetables and fruits, in addition to high fiber foods, as these reduce your chances of developing colon cancer. Also, try cutting back on the amount of red meat you eat. While red mat (beef and goat meat) are tasty, over-indulging in them increases your cancer risks. Go for the leaner versions like chicken and fish, especially if you plan on grilling your meat.

5. Avoid alcohol: Throat and mouth cancers can be caused by excessive drinking of alcohol. By cutting back on the amount you drink, you also reduce your risks of developing those cancers.

6. Cut back on salt: As Nigerians, we love salt in almost everything we eat. Apart from increasing our risks of developing hypertension, it also increase our risk of cancer. Reducing our salt intake, avoiding p foods as much as possible as they usually have high salt content, plus watching out for foods such as bread and margarine, we will do ourselves a big favour.

7. Breast feed your baby: Mothers, breastfeeding is not only good for the baby, it is also good for you as it offers some protection against breast cancer.

8. Stop tobacco use: Tobacco is probably one of the biggest culprits of preventable cancers worldwide. It associated with cancer has been well documented. In order to reduce your reduce your risk, don’t light up or be around anyone who does.

9. Get your daily dose of vitamin D: That’s right, getting out in the sun for just about 15 minutes a day can help your body combat cancer. The sun is best source of vitamin D.

10. Reduce your exposure to light at night: Sounds weird but it has been shown that people who stay in dark rooms at night are less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer.

Cancer often starts over silently and usually progresses over a long period. However if we have an active lifestyle, eat healthily and watch what we consume, we can ensure that we avoid all those cancers that are at least preventable.

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