20 lifestyle tips against cancer 

 


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The World Cancer Research Fund, Cancer Research UK and The National Institute of Health of the USA all estimate, based on the available scientific data, that about 50% of cancers could be preventable by lifestyle factors. As more research is published, the benefits of other lifestyle factors and choices may well increase this figure. 

In addition to sensible medical precautions (presenting to the doctor with concerning symptoms, getting vaccinated for HPV, attending screening programmes such as bowel faecal analysis and mammography), this section highlights practical lifestyle guidance to avoid cancer.

Likewise, although patients with established cancer have already sustained the initial DNA damage in order to mutate from benign to malignant cells, the progress from an early indolent cancer to an aggressive form can be influences by on-going nutritional and lifestyle habits. Further DNA damage encourages the cancer to developed mechanism to hide from the body's immunity or become resistant to medical treatments. 

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Why lifestyle matters:

  • Reduces the risk of cancer and other chronic inflammatory related diseases

  • Reduces side effects of cancer treatments and symptoms of cancer

  • Improves the response to cancer treatments especially the new biological/targeted agents

  • Speeds up recovery after cancer treatments

  • Reduces the risk of relapse after initial treatments and improve the chance of a long healthy life

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Categories of lifestyle and diet to focus on:

  1. Exercise - increase daily moderate to strenuous levels, aiming for 3-5 hours a week and avoid long periods of sedentary behaviour  ...read more

  2. Processed sugar - try to eliminate intake, especially on an empty stomach, aim for a low glycaemic index diet ...read more

  3. Phtytochemicals - maintain a high intake of phytochemical rich foods, even consider a quality supplement as a boost, if necessary  ...read more

  4. Smoking - try to stop immediately ..tips to quit

  5. Carcinogenic foods - avoid smoked foods, acrylamides in baked foods and nitrosamines in processed meats ..read more

  6. Carcinogenic xenoestrogens - reduce exposure to plastic, pollution and pesticides ..read more

  7. Alcohol - avoid in excess, have days off and go for quality not quantity ..tips

  8. Meat - reduce red meat and stop cheap processed meat intake, avoid burned, grilled or barbecued meats ..read more

  9. Fats and oils - eat a profile of good fats and avoid bad fats ..read more

  10. Essential minerals - ensure sufficient intake to avoid deficiency and consider a well designed supplement ..read more

  11. Vitamins - ensure sufficient intake but avoid extra pills unless there is a know deficiency ..read more

  12. Sunlight & Vitamin D - take extra pills in the Winter, try to get regular sun without burning ..read more

  13. Dietary fibre -  Increase intake especially from flaxseeds, quinoa, whole grains and wild rice ..more

  14. Plant proteins - increase legumes, beans and pumpkin and other seeds rich in plant proteins ..healthy dishes with legumes

  15. Body mass - try to maintain a healthy weight, not too thin and loose weight if obese ..read more

  16. Overnight fasting - aim for 13 hours between your evening meal and breakfast ..more

  17. Nuts  - eat a handful of mixed nuts every day - healthy dishes with nuts

  18. Gut heath - try to maintain a healthy gut with natural foods and probiotics if necessary ..what are probiotics

  19. Sleep - try to adopted good sleep hygiene habits to enhance a regular circadian rhythm ..read more

  20. Mood - Look after your thought processes and psychological health ..read more

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When to consider a lifestyle initiative? 

Shortly after their diagnosis, patients and their relatives are confronted by a sudden commotion activity usually traveling to the hospital for blood tests, x-rays, scan, biopsies, and treatments. This causes enormous upheaval to the daily routine both socially and at the work place.  Most of your time is taken up adjusting to their new diagnosis, with coping with the side effects of therapy and the difficulties of remembering, where and when they have to be and what to do when they get there! Forcing yourself  into a strategy which you cannot do for practical or physical reasons would be inappropriate or at worse may project a feeling of guilt which is counter productive. Depending on the individual circumstances, at an early point in the treatment pathway, however, the subject could be introduced gradually and sensitively. The timing is paramount, as is ability of the clinician to assess the patientís receptiveness to considering lifestyle issues at each stage. Too early and the anxieties of the circumstances will be confounded, too late and the benefits of lifestyle will be overlooked.

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