Ways to Live Healthily and Prevent Cancer

Tips to prevent cancer

Cancer is one of the most common medical diseases. It is possibly the most feared illnesses. Modern lifestyles and diet have played a big role in contributing to the rise in incidence in cancer. There are multiple ways we could alter, adopt, and modify our lifestyles which could lead to prevention and reduction in the risk of developing cancers, these are listed as follows:

1) Healthy diet

Prevent cancer with healthy diet

Modern societies have allowed us to have access to an array of processed and ready-made food. The downside is that there is evidence linking processed food with increased risk of colon cancer. Hence, it is recommended to prepare fresh food at home.

A daily healthy food intake should include 5 portions of fruits and vegetables and a reduction of red meat intake. It is also recommended to include fish in your diet. Both pre- and pro- biotics are also important part of the daily diet as they support the body in building and maintaining a healthy colony of bacteria and other microorganism, which helps with digestion. Food rich in pre-biotics include whole grains, bananas, greens, onions, garlic and soybeans, while probiotics are rich in food such as yogurt and tempeh.

2) Physical activities

Prevent cancer with physical activity
Our lifestyle has become increasingly sedentary with the advancement in modern technology such as cars, escalators and elevators. We are also increasingly working in front of the computers for a long period of time. The World Health Organisation has published a recommendation guideline which recommend getting in an exercise routine which includes 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. It is noted that exercise has a protective effect against cancer, even if one does not lose weight in the interim.

3) Vaccination

Prevent cancer with vaccination
Certain cancers such as cervical cancer and liver cancer are caused by Human Papilloma Virus and Hepatitis B respectively. Human Papilloma Virus vaccination is recommended under National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) and National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) for all females aged 9 to 26 in Singapore to prevent cervical cancer, while Hepatitis B Virus vaccination is recommended under National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) at birth.

4) Stop smoking

Smoking is linked to lung, nasopharyngeal, mouth, oesophagus, pancreas, liver, stomach, kidney, colon and bladder cancers. It is important to quit early for smokers, and non-smokers to avoid tobacco in all forms and exposure to second-hand smoke.

5) Limit alcohol intake

Excess alcohol intake increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon and breast cancers.

6) Protect yourself from the sun.

Avoid mid-day sun and protect yourself from sunlight by using an adequate amount of sunscreen daily. This is because ultraviolet rays from the sunlight increases the risk of melanomas and other skin cancers.

However, it is important to note that electromagnetic radiation from high-voltage power lines or radiofrequency radiation from microwaves and cell phones do not cause cancer.

7) Screening

Some cancers can be prevented by going for regular cancer screenings. For example, colonoscopy can detect polyps in the colon before they become cancerous. Cervical smear tests can detect early cells changes in the cervix before they turn into cancer cells and mammogram screening can detect early cells changes which can potentially become invasive cancer cells.

In Singapore, it is recommended to start screening for colon cancer at the age of 50 with Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) annually or colonoscopy every 10 years for an average-risk individual. Screening for breast cancer with mammogram is recommended annually for all women above the age of 40, and this frequency can be reduced to once every 2 years for women after the age of 50.

PAP smear tests are recommended for all sexually active women.

In conclusion, risk of cancer can be reduced by modifying and adopting a healthy diet, leading an active lifestyle, going for regular screenings and getting the appropriate vaccinations.

The Cancer Centre

The Cancer Centre

Our oncology team is attentive to every need from information and consultation to treatment and rest. Regardless of the questions that cancer may pose, we will take the time to answer, guide and share – because we understand and care. The Cancer Centre is located at Paragon Medical & Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre.

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Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a healthcare organisation with a network of private specialist providers across four established pillars - Aesthetics, Diagnostic Imaging & Screening, Oncology and Women's and Children's Health. Within Singapore, SMG has more than 40 clinics strategically located in central Singapore and heartland estates. Beyond Singapore, SMG also has an established presence in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. Learn about our privacy policy here.

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