According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and was responsible for about 13% of all deaths in 2008. 4 February is marked as World Cancer Day to promote ways to prevent cancer and raise the quality of life for cancer patients.
Reducing Risks of Cancer
We can minimize our risks of cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle.
1) Healthy Diet: Consumption of certain foods may increase the risk of cancer. The Singapore Cancer Foundation recommends keeping a healthy diet through reducing consumption of food that is high in fat, and smoked or salted food. A high consumption of salt increases the risk of stomach cancer. Eating too much red meat is also associated with colorectal cancer. It is better to consume more foods with high fibre such as vegetables and fruits and drink more water to keep yourself hydrated.
2) Exercise 30 Minutes Daily: Keep a healthy weight by exercising regularly. Obesity has been linked to several major cancers like breast, colorectal and kidney cancer.
3) Quit Smoking and Reduce Alcohol Consumption: It is known that cigarettes and alcohol are the leading causes of oral cancer and head and neck cancer.
4) Regular Screening for Early Detection: When cancer growth is detected at an early stage, the potential for cure is higher. It would also cost less, both financially and psychologically. According to the WHO, cancer prevention can save about 40% of all cancer deaths. Women above 40 years of age should plan to have mammogram screenings yearly, as it is known that in Singapore breast cancer is most prevalent in women betwee 50 years and 59 years of age. Those who have family member(s) with cancer history should also have regular check ups with the relevant health provider, as some cancers are hereditary.
For cancer patients, there are support groups available to assist both the patients and their family members. These include programmes provided by Parkway Cancer Centre, CanHope and the Breast Cancer Foundation Singapore. One should not suffer alone!
Read our previous article on dental care for cancer patients and if you think these articles are useful, please share them with your family & friends.