What do you do when an ant chews on your skin? You squash it immediately right! Now, imagine the cells in your body are mutating and eating each other up, and unlike the ant, you have no control.
The pain from your insides is agonizing, even fatal, and the treatment process for this condition, which may or may not be successful, weighs you down like a thousand bags of cement.
This thing called cancer is becoming a never-ending nightmare. Speculations abound as to what causes this disease, from environmental effects such as sun exposure or pollution to bad luck or generational curses based on religious connotations to genetic mutations and lifestyle choices.
Despite the many theories being tested, the facts remain solid. According to estimates from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the global cancer burden is expected to double, growing to 21.4 million cases and 13.2 million deaths by the year 2030.
It is quite disturbing that unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor diet, and physical inactivity are considered a major contributor to rising cancer cases. It is evident that as the pressure for growing economies continue, more corporate employees are succumbing to smoking and taking alcohol for stress management, eating over-processed, junky fast food as the order of the rat race day, and since there simply isn’t enough time in a day, proper exercise and sleep are becoming a thing of the past for these pacesetters.
Much as cancer is a scary condition, many of us are still knowingly or unknowingly exposing ourselves to the risk factors. Yet unlike other manageable lifestyle diseases such as obesity, some heart, liver and lung conditions and type 2 diabetes, cancer is much more difficult to manage, expensive to treat and terminal.
Therefore, it is important to do our best to keep malignant cells from chewing away our lives. Cancer Research UK indicates that 4 in 10 cancers such as Lung, Skin, Breast and Bowel cancers can be prevented through lifestyle change, here’s how;
1. Exercise for at least 20 minutes daily.
2. Avoid sitting down for too long, always have a break to stretch, also, frequently switch off the TV to engage in more engaging activities.
3. Find interesting ways to de-stress often to keep you from depending on drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
4. If you must take alcohol then moderate your intake to the recommended standard for healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men aged 65 and younger. A glass should be equivalent to; 355 millilitres of beer, 148 millilitres of wine and 44 millilitres of distilled spirits.
5. Avoid smoking and being in a room full of smokers as secondary smoke is also harmful.
6. Maintain healthy body weight and recommended BMI.
7. Take water and eat a healthy, balanced diet with a little salt.
8. Use UV protection on your skin while out in the sun.
9. Practice safe sex to avoid certain infections (such as HPV).
10. Avoid cancer risks in the workplace such as exposure to carcinogenic chemicals and toxins, by strictly following occupational safety rules and procedures.
Mwende Maritim is a budding freelance writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has always had a passion for well written content but began writing professionally in 2014. Her writing mainly covers lifestyle issues and anything to inspire people especially the teenagers she mentors.