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There are certain prevention efforts, including screening, vaccination, tobacco control, healthy eating, and physical activities that remain key factors in reducing the effects of cancer and improving the outcomes across communities globally.

Unfortunately, people are often mistaken and believe that cancer is largely a hereditary disease and that their chances of getting cancer are minimal. In fact, only about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers develop from gene mutations passed down from one generation to the next, according to the American Cancer Society. That implies that for the other 90 to 95 percent of cancers, the lifestyle choices a person makes, the foods they eat and the amount of exercise that is incorporated into their daily life can have an important impact on overall risk. That’s why prevention and awareness have become vital tools in the fight to end cancer, and they start with knowing how to nourish your body and how to develop healthy habits with lasting benefits.

Healthy eating

The American Cancer Society recommends, for example, that you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and eat the right amount of food to stay at a healthy weight. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients that are thought to reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Eating more plant-based foods also gives you little room for foods high in sugar. Instead of filling up on processed or sugary foods, eat fruits and vegetables for snacks (Metcalf: 2018) [http://www.everydayhealth.co/cancer-photos/top-foods-tofight-cancer.aspx]


The FDA announced a new plan for regulating tobacco in July 2017 that would include a requirement for manufacturers to lower levels of nicotine in cigarettes. In another study published in 2018, the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that 5 million smokers would quit within a year of implementing this type of policy and that 8.5 million tobacco-related deaths could be prevented by 2100.

Recent studies indicated that young people who have used e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes than those who have not. And the use of these products is increasing. Findings released in 2017 from Monitoring the Future , a long-term study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor that annually surveys about 50,000 8th-, 10th- and 12th-grade students, found that 35.8 percent of 12th-graders reported having vaped at least once, up from 33.8 percent in 2016. E-cigarette vapour could raise the risk of developing cancer and heart disease by damaging DNA in as little as 10 years, a new study suggests.

Researchers from New York University School of Medicine said although it was clear that vaping was less harmful than smoking, it was still “dangerous” for non-smokers and should not be promoted as safe.

The scientists looked for mutations to DNA in animals, as well as human lung, bladder and heart cells, when exposed to e-cigarettes for the equivalent of 10 years. They found that in comparison to filtered air, e-cigarette vapour damages DNA and also prevents the genetic code from repairing itself (Knapton: 2018) [Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vogel: 2018)

Tanning and sunbeds

Understanding why people feel compelled to tan is important because it helps health advocates develop better intervention techniques that encourage people to stop tanning, says Sarnoff, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “There is no such thing as a healthy UV tan. Whether you’re laying out on the beach or in a tanning bed, the damage your skin sustains can lead to skin ageing and potentially deadly skin cancer.” This type of addiction, like many, come with various side effects with the most dangerous outcome being skin cancer. In fact, one study concluded that out of 63 women who were all diagnosed with melanoma before age 30, 61 of them (or 97 percent) had used tanning beds in their lifetime.

Alcohol and cancer

The less alcohol you drink, the lower the risk of cancer. No type of alcohol is better or worse than another, it is the alcohol itself that leads to the damage, regardless of whether it is in wine, beer or spirits. And drinking and smoking together are even worse for you. Each unit of alcohol has a weaker effect on the risk of breast cancer than on cancers of the head and neck, but because breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and because so many women drink small amounts of alcohol regularly, a large number of women are affected – around 4,400 cases of breast cancer each year in the UK are caused by drinking alcohol.


According to an American Cancer Society study, obesity has been associated with increased mortality from cancers of the colon, breast (in postmenopausal women), endometrium, kidneys (renal cell), esophagus (adenocarcinoma), gastric cardia, pancreas, prostate, gallbladder, and liver. Findings from this study suggest that of all deaths from cancer in the United States, 14% in men and 20% in women are attributable to excess weight or obesity. Increased modernisation and a Westernised diet and lifestyle have been associated with an increased prevalence of overweight people in many developing countries (Drewnowski & Popkin (1997).