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The truth about avoiding cancer


Drinking too much tea, not brushing your teeth correctly, working night shifts – it seems like every week we learn about something new that could cause cancer.
According to a recent study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), lifestyle choices are playing a major part in the swell of cancer diagnoses.
The study predicts that globally the number of people diagnosed with cancer will rise from 12.7 million in 2008 to 22.2 million over the next 20 years — a trend blamed largely on the spread of ‘western lifestyle' practices.
So is there an anti-cancer lifestyle we all should be aiming for to avoid the risk of developing the disease? We asked four experts in their field what they think we should be doing to stay healthy and have the best chance of steering clear of the Big C.
The Cancer Expert
Kevin O'Hagan is health promotion manager for the Irish Cancer Society. He agrees that lifestyle plays a major role in guarding against cancer.
"Between 30pc and 40pc of cancers can be prevented by diet and more exercise," he says.
"The link between being overweight and cancer is real -- people really need to look at their weight and diet."
This means eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, switching to wholemeal bread and pasta, avoiding processed foods, and cutting fat, sugar and calories.
Kevin advises: "Everyone should be eating no more than 500g of red meat a week. One in five bowel cancers are linked to red meat."
Alcohol should be kept to two standard drinks a day for men and just one for women. "Someone drinking six units a day is three times more likely to get mouth cancer and twice as likely to get oesophageal cancer," explains Kevin.
Attending screening programmes, exercising 30 minutes a day and wearing sun protection are things everyone can do to protect themselves against cancer.
Too often a problem isn't dealt with because the person wishes it away. But with cancer, early detection is crucial.
the conclusion: Eat a broad diet, rich in fruit, vegetables and fibre and low in fat, processed meat, red meat and alcohol. Exercise daily and if there's a change in your body, get it checked out now.
Irish Independent

 

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