Bad Lifestyle Can Lead To Cancer- How Can This Be Reversed?
Guest post from Dr. Shyamali Singhal, MD
Founder of Hope & Beauty
Every year, more than 1 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer, a disease generally considered to be preventable. Only 5–10% of all cancer cases can be connected to genetic flaws, while the remaining 90–95% of cases are caused by the environment and lifestyle.
Much of the weight of cancer in the US can be tracked to conscious decisions we make daily about our health, and the types of behaviors we choose to spend our time in, that can potentially increase one’s risk of disease.
The global rate of cancer is anticipated to grow considerably over the following decades. This observed trend is very much driven by a rise in lifestyle-related cancers. This is considered to be a consequence of economic and demographic transitions happening worldwide. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol misuse, obesity, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, and also reproductive and hormonal factors are considered as causes of cancer and main objectives for primary prevention. The importance of specific factors for individual cancer types and subtypes varies greatly.
Smoking is responsible for around 20% to 30% of all incident cancers, which puts it clearly at the top of the list as the strongest lifestyle-related risk factor overall. Smoking is followed closely by alcohol consumption and obesity. Notably, it has been claimed that half of all cancers in industrially advanced and wealthy societies could be avoided by simply nonsmoking, reducing alcohol consumption, weight control and physical activity, a plant-based diet, and breast-feeding.
Making Lifestyle Changes Is Not Always Easy- Find Support
Having a network of supportive people is very beneficial for our overlay health. This is especially true for emotional support. Studies have analyzed and compared people with cancer who had the most and least social support. Those who received the most social support had a noticeably higher quality of life and lived longer, more fulfilled lives.
H&B has some great suggestions on how to build your own support system:
Don’t be shy to downright ask for help or for a listening ear. People often want to help but don’t know how to do it and not come out weird about it. So, be blunt, open, and make your requests clear.
Join a support group, even if it’s just an online one. Sharing with others who have similar struggles may help you cope and find new ideas.
Support others. This is sometimes the best help we can get. This creates a healthy cycle of giving and taking.
Causes of cancer can be placed into two rough groups: things that are in our control, and others that aren’t. The latter involves things like accidental changes to our genes as we get older or those that are passed down on us. By the nature of these risks, there’s not much we can do about them. But for the many causes, where we do have some control, such as smoking, there is a potentially life-saving opportunity to act.
Exercise Is Probably Among The Best Methods Of Cancer- Prevention
After we learned more about what increases our risk, we can consider making changes that can diminish our risk of developing cancer at some point in life. But even after the cancer diagnosis, exercise is beneficial because it can better the chances of successful recovery.
Many studies suggest staying active during cancer treatment can have a positive effect on treatment. Exercise improves muscle strength, flexibility, quality of life, fatigue, and mental outlook. But it’s important to talk with your doctor before you start working out. Other studies have found that exercise during treatment can actually change the tumor microenvironment and start a more robust anti-tumor activity in patients’ immune systems. A very recent study done on animals has found that exercise can lead to tumor shrinkage.
Physical activity also helps manage our weight, which is an important cancer risk factor. Research has linked being overweight or obese to an enhanced risk of many types of cancer.
Cancer Is Still Not Fully Researched
Please remember, that this isn’t about blaming someone for their cancer. The research we mentioned can’t tell us what caused an individual person’s cancer. This would be almost impossible to state with certainty. It’s also necessary to mention that this doesn’t mean that some of the remaining 6 out of 10 cancer cases are somehow unpreventable. It’s highly likely that research will reveal some other causes of cancer, or show that some known causes are linked to more types of cancer than we currently believe.