Information about cancer in Baltimore, MD
Cancer Risk Factors And Cancer Prevention
How to reduce cancer risks through diet and lifestyle changes
Over half a million people die of cancer in the United States every year. Cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 7 million people die of cancer every year worldwide.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease caused by cells that become abnormal and start to multiply uncontrollably. The abnormal cells may invade other tissues and cause the cancer to spread (metastasize). Invasive cancers that grow aggressively and metastasize are called malignant, whereas abnormal growths that remain localized are called benign. Cancers are usually classified by the types of tissue that they affect. According to the American Cancer Society, the greatest number of deaths are caused by lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
How to Prevent Cancer
The onset of cancer usually takes a long time, but after it develops, it may spread very fast. Twenty years may elapse before a smoker starts showing signs of cancer. To prevent or reduce the chance of cancer, it is necessary to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals, radiation, and viruses, while maintaining good nutrition to keep the immune system working optimally. This can be summarized by three rules:
- Breathe clean air and practice good hygiene
- Eat wholesome foods in moderation and drink purified water
- Avoid exposure to radiation and harmful chemicals
- Don't smoke cigarettes. The major cause of lung cancer is smoking. Tobacco smoke has many carcinogenic chemicals. You can reduce this risk by not smoking and by avoiding bars and smoky places where you can be exposed to second-hand smoke. The smoke from solid fuels, such as coal or wood used for cooking, and the smoke from burning incense also increase the risk of developing cancers of the upper respiratory tract. Learn how to quit smoking.
- Don't chew tobacco. Although chewing tobacco does not have the carcinogens from smoke, the chemicals from tobacco cause changes in the oral mucous tissues in as little as seven days. Over time, the tissues of the mouth develop precancerous white or red patches called leukoplakias or erythroplakias. Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth, parts of the throat, and pharynx or voice box. Only half of the people who develop oral cancer survive more than five years.
- Avoid alcohol. Light to moderate drinking has been reported to improve longevity, but excessive use of alcohol has a dose-dependent association with cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the esophagus, the mouth, the pharynx, and the larynx.[6,7] More than three drinks a day increases cancer risk substantially. In the United States, 75 percent of esophageal cancers are attributable to chronic ...
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