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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Three prong approach for lowering the risk of cancer (Eat, Active and Weight)

How to lower your risk of cancer?

This is my 7th blog on cancer. In this blog you will see three easy steps to follow in your life for lowering the risk of cancer. We all know that prevention is better than cure…

Mantra-Be Active, eat Well and Watch your weight

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that starts in our cells. Our bodies are made up of millions of cells, grouped together to form tissues and organs such as muscles and bones, the lungs and the liver. Genes inside each cell order it to grow, work, reproduce and die. Normally, our cells obey these orders and we remain healthy. But sometimes the instructions get mixed up, causing the cells to form lumps or tumours, or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

 Tumours can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumour cells stay in one place in the body and are not usually life-threatening.
Malignant tumour cells are able to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Cancer cells that spread to other parts of the body are called metastases.
 The first sign that a malignant tumour has spread (metastasized) is often swelling of nearby lymph nodes, but cancer can metastasize to almost any part of the body. It is important to find malignant tumours as early as possible.

Cancers are named after the part of the body where they start. For example, cancer that starts in the bladder but spreads to the lung is called bladder cancer with lung metastases.

About one third of all cancers are related to unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, overweight and obesity. By eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy weight, you can lower your risk of developing cancer. Here are three positive steps you can take:

1. Eat Well

Make your food choices count by Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide. Focus on these key healthy eating habits:

Go for veggies
Enjoy plenty of colourful vegetables and fruit. Fresh, frozen or canned, they are brimming with vitamins, minerals, fibre and an abundance of natural cancer-fighting plant compounds called phytochemicals. See how many servings you need daily for good health.

Fibre up
Go for higher fibre foods to help keep your digestive system healthy and working well. Try to include lots of plant foods rich in fibre such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit and legumes like beans, peas and lentils. Read our Focus on Fibre for some easy ways to boost fibre.

Be fat wise
Choose healthier unsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats as often as possible. Enjoy avocados, nuts, seeds, soft non-hydrogenated margarines and vegetable oils such as canola and olive oils. Learn more about choosing healthier oils and fats.

2. Be Active

Research suggests that physical activity helps to protect against certain types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer.

Focus on fun
 Do activities that you enjoy
Whether that is a brisk walk with a friend or the dog, yoga or a game of catch with the neighbourhood kids, your body will benefit. Try these ideas to be active every day.
Build gradually
As an adult, aim to build up to 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily
 Try periods of at least 10 minutes at a time throughout the day. Make a daily habit of it and see how great you feel. Check out Canada's Physical Activity Guide.
Stick with it.
 Regular physical activity is vital to keep your whole body fit and is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. See what three types of activity are recommended for optimal health.

3. Manage your Weight

Having a healthy weight lowers the risk of several cancers such as breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal and kidney cancer.

Check your weight.
A simple way to see if you are in a healthy weight range is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI). Enter your height and weight in this simple calculator to find out your BMI.
Watch portion sizes
Portion control is one of the best ways to manage your weight. Be sure to watch foods high in calories, fat or sugar. Try using a smaller plate at home and ask for half of your meal to go when you eat out. Learn more about serving sizes and how much food is recommended from each food group in Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.
Balance your energy
Achieving a healthy weight is a matter of balancing your energy intake (from food) with energy output (from activity).
Every step you take now towards a healthier lifestyle will add up to better health. Even small changes can make a big difference. Learn more about how to prevent cancer from the Canadian Cancer Society.


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