Cancer Prevention ምክልኻል ካንሰር
Cancer prevention: 7 tips to reduce your risk
Concerned about cancer prevention? Take charge by making changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular screenings.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
You’ve probably heard conflicting reports about cancer prevention. Sometimes the specific cancer-prevention tip recommended in one study or news report is advised against in another.
In many cases, what is known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, it’s well-accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make.
So if you’re concerned about cancer prevention, take comfort in the fact that some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Consider these seven cancer prevention tips.
1. Don’t use tobacco
Using any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney. Xhewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer.
Avoiding tobacco — or deciding to stop using it — is one of the most important health decisions you can make. It’s also an important part of cancer prevention. If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your doctor about stop-smoking products and other strategies for quitting.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can’t guarantee cancer prevention, it might help reduce your risk. Consider these guidelines:
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans.
Avoid obesity. Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-calorie foods, including refined sugars and fat from animal sources.
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver — increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly.
Limit processed meats. A report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, concluded that eating large amounts of processed meat can slightly increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
In addition, women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts might have a reduced risk of breast cancer. The Mediterranean diet focuses on mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. People who follow the Mediterranean diet choose healthy fats, like olive oil, over butter and fish instead of red meat.
3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney.
Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. But for substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better.
4. Protect yourself from the sun
Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer — and one of the most preventable. Try these tips:
Avoid midday sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Stay in the shade. When you’re outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat help, too.
Cover exposed areas. Wear tightly woven, loosefitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Opt for bright or dark colors, which reflect more ultraviolet radiation than pastels or bleached cotton.
Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Use generous amounts of sunscreen when you’re outdoors, and reapply often.
Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These are just as damaging as natural sunlight.
5. Get immunized
Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about immunization against:
Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk adults — such as adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and health care or public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids.
Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers as well as squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 and 12. It is also available to both men and women age 26 or younger who didn’t have the vaccine as adolescents.
6. Avoid risky behaviors
Another effective cancer prevention tactic is to avoid risky behaviors that can lead to infections that, in turn, might increase the risk of cancer. For example:
Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you have sex. The more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract a sexually transmitted infection — such as HIV or HPV. People who have HIV or AIDS have a higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung. HPV is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.
Don’t share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user can lead to HIV, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C — which can increase the risk of liver cancer. If you’re concerned about drug abuse or addiction, seek professional help.
7. Get regular medical care
Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful. Ask your doctor about the best cancer screening schedule for you.
Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.
Green Tea Antioxidants
Green tea leaves contain so-called ‘bioactive’ compounds, including green tea antioxidants, which act on our body in multiple beneficial ways. Specifically, green tea polyphenols known as catechins are believed to be responsible for many of the health benefits of green tea.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant catechin in green tea and accounts for 50-75% of its total catechin content. EGCG is also the most effective green tea antioxidant as far as its health benefits are concerned – and it has been tested extensively over the past few years to better understand its potential cancer-fighting abilities.
The results of these studies clearly show that EGCG and other green tea antioxidants are toxic to cancer cells in laboratory experiments and indicate why health experts are so optimistic about their use in cancer therapies in the near future.
EGCG Stops Cancer Cells from Growing
Cancer cells are formed when our body’s cells break free of the normal cycle of growth and death and begin to grow uncontrollably, giving rise to harmful, even life-threatening tumors in different parts of the body. EGCG and other green tea antioxidants act in very specific ways to prevent cancer cells from growing – and are very likely responsible for at least some of the anticancer health benefits of green tea.
These antioxidants have been shown to prevent cancer cells from growing in multiple ways:
They lower cellular levels of a protein known as cyclin D1 that is needed by cancer cells to grow properly. EGCG also blocks enzymes that help to maintain cancer cells in the so-called ‘cell cycle’, which allows them to keep growing. Because of these actions, EGCG forces cancer cells to go into ‘growth arrest’ – meaning they stop growing, usually permanently.
EGCG also increases the levels of other important cellular proteins that make it very difficult for cancer cells to grow.
EGCG Kills Cancer Cells
In a very promising development, EGCG has been shown to kill many different types of cancer cells in laboratory conditions. One way in which EGCG does this is by triggering the activity of so-called ‘pro-death’ proteins, causing cancer cells to commit ‘suicide.’
In one study, treating breast cancer cells with EGCG led to so many of them dying that the study researchers were able to measure a significant reduction in tumor size. In other words, not only do EGCG and other green tea antioxidants stop cancer cells from growing – they also actively kill them.
EGCG Prevents Formation and Growth of New Blood Vessels in Tumors
When new blood vessels begin to form and grow in a tumor, it is known as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis allows cancer cells to grow faster and spread to other areas of the body by providing them with much-needed nutrients and oxygen.
Studies show that EGCG prevents the expression of a so-called growth factor that is necessary for new blood vessels to form and grow. By doing so, EGCG prevents cancer cells from growing rapidly and spreading from one location to another and invading other parts of the body.
In one study, tumors treated with a potent extract of green tea leaves that contains concentrated tea polyphenols (including EGCG) had significantly fewer blood vessels and were noticeably smaller in size.
So is Green Tea a Proven Cancer Fighter?
It’s clear that EGCG and other green tea antioxidants can stop cancer cells from growing, even directly kill them. They also seem to be able to prevent new blood vessels from forming within tumors that help cancer cells to grow rapidly and spread to other parts of the body. EGCG does this by interfering specifically with multiple biological mechanisms in cancer cells – and it appears to do so without affecting normal cells.
Health experts believe that these actions of EGCG and other green tea antioxidants are to a large extent responsible for the potential anticancer health benefits of green tea.
However, it must be remembered that so far the evidence for EGCG’s anticancer abilities comes mainly from laboratory studies. Because of these promising results, many human clinical trials have been carried out (and are still being carried out) to find out whether EGCG and green tea extract supplements can indeed protect us from developing cancer.
While the results of these studies have not been as clear-cut as health experts would have liked, all the available evidence suggests that daily consumption of two to three cups of green tea can help to lower your overall cancer risk without any serious side effects.
However, if you’re on prescription medications or are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to speak to your physician before adding green tea to your daily diet. And if you do experience any uncomfortable symptoms (such as nervousness, confusion, sleep issues, irritability), be sure to discontinue green tea immediately and consult your physician right away.
It’s also important to know that although many commercial iced and ready-to-drink versions of green tea are also quite popular nowadays, they may not have the same healthful levels of green tea antioxidants that you’ll get from a freshly brewed cup using real green tea leaves. The lower the amounts of tea leaves and buds, the lesser the antioxidant content, minimizing the health benefits of green tea.
Not only that, adding other liquids like juices or water further dilutes the levels of green tea antioxidants and weakens their health benefits. Decaffeinated green tea also has significantly lower levels of green tea antioxidants.
The antioxidant concentrations of green tea – and the health benefits you get from it – depend on the type and quality of green tea you use, how much you use, how long you brew it for, and the temperature of brewing.
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