Cancer is one of the leading causes of death out of all the diseases and health complications people can get around the world. Just in the UAE alone, it is the third leading cause of death and claims 500 lives on average per year according to the UAE Ministry of Health.
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Cancer is identified as a group of more than 100 different diseases. Once a person is diagnosed with cancer, it is irreversible and can only be managed. This is why it’s important to know how to lower your risk of cancer and watch your health.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a medical condition where cells divide at an accelerated rate. These cells then grow into a lump that is known as a tumor. Tumors can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). The type of cancer that is diagnosed in people is where cancer growth first occurs.
For example, if the cancer cells are developed from the breast in its beginning stages, it will be recognized as breast cancer and if cancer cells develop in the brain, then it is referred to as brain cancer.
According to a 2011 report by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, the leading types of cancer for men and women are:
Things You Can Do to Lower Your Risk of Cancer
Here are a few things you can do to lower your risk of cancer here in the UAE:
1. Cut smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes
Smoking has long been known to be a huge driving factor in the development of cancer. And in recent years e-cigarettes have increased in popularity and are commonly advertised as a healthier option to traditional tobacco smokes. Do not be fooled.
E-cigarettes are just as harmful, if not more harmful than smoking tobacco. Inhaling anything into your lungs will cause complications. Chewing tobacco has also been known to increase the risk of cancer. The various types of cancer that smokers put themselves under the risk of include lung, throat, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervix. Secondhand smoking should also be avoided.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Eating healthy is imperative to minimize the risk of cancer. Try to aim to reach the recommended daily intake of all your nutrients. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-dense foods. Limit high-fat meats, and processed refined ingredients.
Choose nutrient-dense, lower-calorie foods. Speak with your doctor or dietician to help you figure out how much food you can and can’t have. Once you get on a healthy pattern of eating, your health will follow, thus significantly lowering the risk of cancer and other health complications.
3. Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways for you to be safe from the risks of cancer. Although its no guarantee, it will decrease the risk of multiple different types of cancer including breast, prostate, lung, and kidney.
Physical activity and consistent exercise will help you maintain that. Regular exercise from moderate to high intensity will improve your overall health.
4. Avoid excess sun exposure
Especially here in the middle east where the UV rays are beaming all year round, be sure to avoid excess sun exposure as it will significantly heighten the risk of skin cancer. Make sure to use SPF sunscreen whenever you are outdoors as well as covering up with enough clothing.
You can also avoid heading outdoors in the mornings and afternoons and evenings as that is when the sun is most prominent. Avoid suntans, tanning beds, and sunlamps as unnatural light exposure can damage your skin and cause cancer.
5. Keep up with vaccinations
Protecting yourself from viral infections can certainly decrease your risks of cancer. Viral infections such as hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV) can increase your risk of cancer.
Sexually transmitted diseases are also important to be wary of when avoiding viral infections that may increase the risk of cancer. Speak with your doctor regarding which vaccinations you need to catch up with and with are the most appropriate for you.
6. Get regular checkups with your doctor
A lot of the time, symptoms of cancer can often go undetected and can sometimes be mistaken as common illnesses. Once cancer cells are present, they will only begin to grow and accelerate in rapid paces.
This is why getting a regular check-up with your doctor is highly advised, especially if you notice anything irregular in your health. Early intervention is the best way of beating cancer.
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