Cancer is one of the most feared words in the human language. Every year over 12 million new cancer cases are diagnosed and over 7 million people die from this disease. In this article I take a deeper look at cancer and discuss how it develops, the various types of cancer and the steps you can take to prevent it.
How Does Cancer Develop?
Despite the large amounts of research into cancer, no one knows exactly how it is caused. What we do know is that it’s a disease which develops when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in our body’s cells becomes damaged or disrupted in some way.
In normal circumstances, DNA instructs your body’s cells to divide and reproduce as part of a controlled process. However, when it becomes damaged or disrupted, these instructions become warped and your body’s cells start to divide and reproduce at an increased rate. This causes a tumor (a huge mass of cells) to form which can then be cancerous or non-cancerous.
Non-cancerous tumors do not spread to other areas of the body and can generally be removed without any issues. However, cancerous tumors often spread to other areas of the body and as a result, they’re much more dangerous.
How Many Types Of Cancer Are There?
There are over 200 different types of cancer which can develop in any area of your body. However, all these cancers can be grouped into the four main categories listed below:
1) Carcinomas: These are the most common types of cancer and develop in the tissues that line the body and its vital organs. Breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and skin cancer are some of the main types of carcinomas.
3) Leukemias: These are cancers that develop in the bone marrow and then build up in the blood stream.
In addition to these main types of cancer, there are also a number of rare types of cancer which include adenomas (cancers that develop in the glandular tissues such as the adrenal gland, the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland) and central nervous system cancers (cancers that develop in the brain and spinal cord).
How Can You Prevent Cancer?
Since it’s not clear what causes cancer, there are no sure fire ways to prevent this nasty disease. However, making the positive lifestyle choices listed below can seriously slash your cancer risk:
1) Don’t Smoke: Cigarette smoke contains more than 70 different carcinogens (substances that significantly increase your cancer risk). By quitting smoking, you prevent these carcinogens from entering your body and significantly lower your cancer risk.
2) Drink Alcohol Moderately: Research has shown that there’s a strong link between alcohol and cancer risk, with heavy drinkers up to six times more likely to develop certain types of cancer than non-drinkers. By reducing your alcohol consumption or avoiding it completely, you can minimize the impact of alcohol and lower your chances of contracting cancer.
3) Eat Natural, Unprocessed Foods: Studies have shown that as many as one in three cancers are linked to diet. The reason for this is that many processed foods contains trans fats (a dangerous type of fat that has been linked with cancer) and other cancer causing substances. In contrast, natural, unprocessed foods contain large amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which have been linked with cancer prevention. By avoiding the processed foods and going for healthy, natural, unprocessed foods instead, you’re much less likely to develop cancer.
4) Exercise Regularly: Research has revealed that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer by up to 50%. By exercising for at least 30 minutes each day you can enjoy this added cancer protection.
While there’s still a lot to learn about cancer, leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to keep it at bay. So if you want to live a long, healthy, cancer free life, make sure you follow the tips above and keep your body in tip top shape.