Of all the maladies that could kill us, perhaps none is feared more than cancer with its promise of harrowing treatments, intense pain and a slow, debilitating slog toward a drawn-out demise.
Fortunately, there may be some steps we can take to protect ourselves from this gruesome illness.
New research by the American Cancer Society suggest that certain behaviors under our control, like smoking, eating red and/or processed meats, and avoiding physical activity, are at the root of many new cancer cases.
The study looked at a variety of risk factors and the magnitude by which these factors increase the odds of falling victim to the disease. These risk factors included smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, excess weight, alcohol consumption, consumption of red and/or processed meats, minimal intake of fruits, vegetables, fiber and calcium, physical inactivity and UV exposure.
Once they completed their analysis, researchers found that 43% of cancers in man were caused by these risk factors. Smoking was the cause in 24% of the cases, while UV exposure and excess body weight were responsible for 6% and 5% of cases respectively. Smoking caused 84% of lung cancers, 74% of cancer of the larynx, and 52% of cancers of the esophagus. UV exposure, not surprisingly, was responsible for 95% of melanomas.
As for excess weight, it was the underlying factor in about a third of the instances of gallbladder, kidney and liver cancer as well as esophageal cancer. Viruses like HPV and HIV were also causative factors, with HPV the culprit in 38% of oropharynx cancer and 59% of penile cancers, while HIV was the causative factor in 89% of cases of Kaposi sarcoma.
The good news is that all of these factors are within our control. Avoid HPV and HIV viruses by practicing safe sex. Quitting smoking is really a no-brainer and can cut the risk of lung cancer by 52% within five years. Everyone can also make the choices to get more exercise and improve their diets by substituting fruits, vegetables and whole grains for some of those meat products.
To see what other steps you can take to safeguard yourself from the risk of cancer, please see:
You Can Prevent 43 Percent Of All Cancers By Tweaking These Lifestyle Habits | Men’s Health