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Cancer Awareness


What lifestyle interventions can you take to reduce cancer risk and improve outcomes?

Did you know that in 1991 the American Cancer Society (ACS) first published dietary guidelines to advise health care professionals and the general public about lifestyle behaviors to reduce cancer risk? With almost 2 million people dying worldwide due to various types of cancer any help to bring the numbers down is welcome.  Below is some advice that has been shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and many other medical experts around the world.

What are some of the suggested cancer prevention tips you can adopt?

The cessation of tobacco use is on the frontline. Even if you do not use tobacco, exposure to second-hand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer. Other cancers that are influenced by smoking include the cancer of the throat, mouth, and larynx. Another tip would be to eat a healthy diet. Although this does not eradicate it, it does reduce the risk. As with many other illnesses, being physically active is the best way of keeping your whole body in check. A routine of at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity is recommended. Protecting yourself from the sun is also overlooked by many. Stay away from direct sun especially when at its peak, that is, from 12noon- 4 pm. It also good to get accustomed to wearing sunscreen and hats while exposed to the sun. Do not forget to get to talk to your doctor about vaccines like Hepatitis B, and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Research has shown that cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections that can be rendered through vaccination.

How can care physicians help patients with cancer about how to live?

As many continue to embrace lifestyle shifts, doctors and other medical experts need to hold the hands of those that already have cancer to show them that there is still life after the diagnosis. First, the care provider can take advantage of teachable moments to provide evidence-based guidance to patients regarding cancer prevention and control such as the before and after cancer screening. Secondly, emphasize the need for weight management and regular exercise as a means to prevent and control cancer. Another step is to guide patients in making decisions regarding alcohol use to optimize risk reduction for cancer. Also, to promote the practice of extra food safety hygiene among cancer patients during treatment. Lastly, engage community efforts that regard healthy food choices and increased physical activity.

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Do your best to take care of yourself and your loved ones by avoiding risky behaviors by abstaining, being faithful, and by avoiding sharing of needles. Such habits can lead to infections that might increase the risk of cancer. Also, ask your doctor about the best cancer screenings for your age. It can increase your chance of discovering cancer early when treatment is most successful and affordable. The next time you celebrate your birthday, take the day to have your annual medical check-up as a gift to yourself.


This article was written by Annete Karanja.


Would you like to share your experience of living through the circumstances brought by the Covid-19 pandemic? Kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu