Did you know? Cancer is Singapore’s most common killer, accounting for 29 per cent of deaths each year since 2015. Even with the advent of groundbreaking cancer treatments, some cancers still remain deadly and expensive to treat. This, coupled with a barrage of news claiming that everything from bacon to the microwave can cause cancer, you may feel hopeless when it comes to protecting yourself from this debilitating disease.
However, studies have shown that there are still things you can do to reduce the risk of getting several types of cancers. In this article, we explore five of these prevention methods.
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1. Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight Can Reduce the Risk of Several Types of Cancer
Obesity lends itself to a myriad of health problems, ranging from heart disease to cancer. However, with the global population seeing a rising rate in obesity, it is important now more than ever to stress the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
In fact, overweight or obese people may be at an increased risk for colon, endometrial, kidney, liver, gallbladder, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia and pancreatic cancer, epidemiological studies have suggested. Why is this? Excess body fat leads to chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and hormonal changes, all of which can increase the risk of tumor growth. For instance, a Framingham study showed that overweight people have a 50-240 per cent increased risk of getting colon cancer compared to individuals with healthy waist circumference.
If you are at risk of being overweight, it is recommended to clean up your diet by increasing your intake of vegetables and fruit, swapping processed meat for lean protein such as fish and chicken breast, and reducing sugar.
You should also consider increasing your daily activity level by taking up a class at the gym or going for walks throughout the day. You don’t even have to go to a fancy boutique gym to get your recommended dose of exercise. Singapore also has plenty of affordable gyms that start at just S$133 per month that offer most of the same equipment and classes as higher end options. And if you hate the thought of exercising, try these fun fitness classes that make workout easy peasy.
2. Eating Cruciferous Vegetables May Reduce Risk of Several Types of Cancer
While as a kid you may have felt like being forced you to eat your vegetables was a mild form of torture, your parents actually had your best interests at heart. Beyond being packed with nutrients, cruciferous vegetables (CF), such as broccoli, bok choy cabbage, kale and cauliflower have been shown to potentially reduce the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers.
Not only do cruciferous vegetables (CF) contain vitamins that are essential to your health, but they also contain compounds that may have strong anticancer properties. These compounds include I3C and sulforaphane, which can help induce programmed cell death, inactivate carcinogens and protect cells from DNA damage.
However, while the results have been generally positive, research still needs to be done to find absolutely conclusive evidence for all cancers. For instance, one study in particular showed that while there was no reduction in cancer risk among people who already consumed a lot of CF, there was an increased risk of colon cancer among individuals who ate very little amounts of vegetables.
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Nonetheless, while research to confirm the benefit of cruciferous vegetables is still being conducted, there is enough evidence to suggest that adding these vegetables to your diet may improve your overall health and reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.