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I Am And I Will: 5 steps to start reducing your cancer risk


Globally,
  • Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death worldwide
  • 9.6 million people die from cancer every year
  • The number of deaths from cancer will double in the next 10 yrs (by 2030)
According to the Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report 2015,
  • 35 people are diagnosed with cancer every day in Singapore
  • Men: Highest incidence of colorectal cancer followed by lung cancer
  • Women: Highest incidence of breast cancer followed by colorectal cancer
Good news: Prevention is better than cure
  • At least 1/3rd of common cancers are preventable
  • 3.7 million lives can be saved yearly through prevention, early detection and timely treatment.
  • Source: www.preventcancer.org

Know your risk

Chances that you have a higher risk of cancer are partly unavoidable such as age and genetic predisposition. Organ transplants, AIDS or HIV infection, as well as immunosuppressant drugs for other medical conditions, can weaken your immune systems, which increases your risk of cancer. Exposure to carcinogens is also directly proportional to an increased risk of cancer.

Lower your risk: Screening tests and vaccines

Routine screening tests help discover breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) diseases at the early stage when treatment might work, will lead to a good quality of life post-treatment. Lung cancer screening must be done for individuals at high risk.

5 choices to reduce your cancer risk

Choices you choose to make may reduce your risk of cancer. For example, up to 10% of cancers are related to genetic mutation, whereas 27% of cancer deaths are from tobacco and alcohol use. All evidence and recommendations are based on the Third Expert Report published by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute of Cancer Research.

One in three cancer cases can be prevented by reducing exposure to dietary and behavioural risks. Let's start reducing your cancer risk today.
  1. Avoid Alcohol
    Alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, colorectal and breast. Research shows 2 or more alcoholic drinks increases the risk of colorectal cancer and 3 or more alcoholic drinks increases the risk of stomach and liver cancer.

  2. Avoid Tobacco
    Smoking is linked to 71% of lung cancer deaths and accounts for at least 22% of all cancer deaths. A small change can lead to a big impact. For instance, a smoke-free workplace can reduce the risk of second-hand smoke by 80 - 90 %.

  3. Maintain Healthy Weight
    There is strong compelling evidence that overweight, obesity and higher body fat leads to increased risk of several cancers such as breast, colorectal, oesophagus, pancreas, liver, endometrium and kidney. An increase in body weight leads to an increase in deaths from cancer, as overweight and obesity is not only a known risk factor but also a hindrance during the treatment of cancer.

    Research shows consumption of high-fat foods, junk foods and sugary drinks increases the risk of weight gain, overweight and obesity. Limit the consumption of high fat and junk foods and always give a miss to sugar-sweetened beverages.

    Moderate and vigorous physical activity done regularly strongly correlates with a decrease in colorectal cancer risk as well.

  4. Choose whole grains, high fibre and non-starchy vegetables and fruits
    Strong convincing evidence demonstrates that whole grains, high fibre and non-starchy vegetables and fruits reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. The report also shows that salting of starchy and non-starchy vegetables increases the risk of cancer.

    In Singapore, the prevalence of colorectal cancer is highest in men and the second highest in women. Thus, it is imperative to start replacing refined grains such as white rice, bee hoon or pasta with whole grains such as brown rice, high fibre rice, brown rice bee hoon or whole-grain pasta at least once a day. 

  5. Limit consumption of red meat and avoid processed meat
    Consumption of red meat moderately increases the risk of colorectal cancer, but processed meat definitely increases your risk of colorectal cancer. Reduce your quantity and frequency of consumption of red meat, and it's best to avoid processed meat.
Know you and your family's cancer risk, get regular health screening done for your employees with MyDoc and reach out to our team of doctors and health coach to reduce you, your family and friends’ risk of cancer.

Always here for you,
Sheetal Somaiya
MyDoc healthcare team

References:
  1. Common Types of Cancer in Singapore (no date). Available at: https://www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg/learn-about-cancer/cancer-basics/common-types-of-cancer-in-singapore.html (Accessed: 19 December 2019).
  2. Forouzanfar, M. H. et al. (2016) ‘Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015’, The Lancet. Elsevier, 388(10053), pp. 1659–1724. ‘fact_sheet_mortality_report.pdf’ (no date). Available at: https://www.who.int/tobacco/publications/surveillance/fact_sheet_mortality_report.pdf.
  3. Materials | World Cancer Day (no date). Available at: https://www.worldcancerday.org/materials?lang=en (Accessed: 21 January 2020).
  4. Alcoholic drinks and the risk of cancer. [online]. Available from: https://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Alcoholic-Drinks.pdfDiet, nutrition, physical activity and cancer

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