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cancer. How to Reduce Risks / Atlas Blog / SurprizingFacts

In the last article, we collected a list of factors that increase the risk of cancer. In this article, experts at the Solo Biomedical Atlas Holding project will tell you which factors reduce the risk of developing a malignant tumor.


Illustrations: Michael Kowalski

Quit smoking

If you smoke, the right way to reduce the risk of developing cancer is to stop smoking. This is not so easy to do, because tobacco causes a strong addiction. There are several methods that can replace cigarettes if the smoker decides to quit.

Electronic cigarettes. They are safer than cigarettes, pipes and hookah. People who use electronic cigarettes instead of the usual ones for six months, according to the results of various tests, have a lower level of toxic and carcinogenic substances. This does not mean that electronic cigarettes are completely harmless, but they are well suited as an intermediate option for those who want to quit.

Nicotine replacement therapy. It is a way of delivering nicotine into the body without carbon monoxide, resins and other harmful chemicals. Nicotine replacement drugs can be different: plasters, chewing gums, tablets and sprays. You can use one thing, but it is better to combine several drugs – then the likelihood of defeating nicotine dependence increases.

Special preparations. Varenicline and bupropion are the active substances used to treat nicotine dependence. The first blocks nicotinic receptors, and the second – an antidepressant, which reduces cravings for smoking. The efficacy of varenicline and bupropion has been demonstrated in randomized clinical trials. The medication should be prescribed and monitored by a physician.

Normalize weight

It is difficult to estimate how weight loss affects the risk of developing cancer separately from other factors. Nevertheless, a study on the impact of bariatric surgery on the incidence of cancer showed a link between weight loss and a reduced risk of developing malignant tumors among women. To bariatric surgery are operations on the stomach that help the patient lose excess weight.

For men, not everything is so unambiguous and more research is needed. However, there is evidence that weight loss reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer.

You can find out if you are overweight using the body mass index (BMI). The index is not indicative for athletes and bodybuilders, pregnant and lactating women.


To control viruses and infections

Some viruses and infections can be eliminated if vaccination and treatment are timely.

Human papillomavirus can not be cured if the infection has already occurred. You can only eliminate the consequences and carefully follow it: remove warts, regularly observed by a doctor.

There is a vaccine against the human papillomavirus. Vaccination will bring maximum benefit if a girl or a young man receives it in adolescence before the onset of sexual activity. Adults are recommended to vaccinate up to 26 years. If infection has already occurred, vaccination will still be useful: it will prevent infection with other oncogenic types of HPV.

Hepatitis B can be prevented if vaccinated until infection occurs. It is difficult to completely get rid of hepatitis B, but treatment reduces the risk of developing liver cancer and other diseases. From the hepatitis C virus, there is no vaccine yet, but it is better treatable.

The human immunodeficiency virus can not be cured completely, but with the help of treatment it is possible to prevent the development of the disease until the emergence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which increases the risk Development of oncopathologies. Most infections with the immunodeficiency virus occur during unprotected sexual intercourse, so you need to remember about such contraceptive measures as a condom.

The Helicobacter pylori bacterium can be treated with a course of antibiotics, but not in all cases You have to get rid of it. Consult first with the gastroenterologist. After treatment, a person can catch Helicobacter pylori again, because the bacterium is transmitted through saliva.

To go in for sports

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing colon, breast and endometrial cancer (the uterine mucosa). During exercise, the levels of growth factors, insulin hormone and estrogen that are associated with tumor development decrease. Regular exercises also stimulate the immune system, which helps to destroy malignant cells.

Physical exercise improves mood, helps to cope with depression, lose weight and feel better. All this increases the quality of life and the survival of patients, even if the tumor is already diagnosed.

Drama exercises, active games with children, walking with pets, housework Or au pair. To high intensity exercises – running, climbing uphill, swimming, aerobics, sports team games.

Correctly to eat

Fruits and vegetables are a source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. The use of a large number of these products can reduce the risk of developing certain types of malignant tumors. Also, a large number of fruits and vegetables in the diet helps to control weight.

A high fiber diet (contained in whole grains and cereals) reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Foods high in fiber reduce the time of interaction between carcinogens and the epithelium of the rectum. Dietary fibers help microbiota bacteria produce useful substances that reduce the risk of developing a malignant tumor.

It is established that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Such a diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetable proteins, whole grains, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as a low content of red meat and refined sugar in the diet.

It is not necessary to abandon the processed meat altogether: it is sufficient to reduce its consumption to 70 grams in a day. It's about a few slices of bacon. Replace processed meat with chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, legumes or vegetables.

Try to cook red meat at low temperatures so that the carcinogenic substances content is less. For example, instead of grilling beef, grill it with vegetables.

It is also recommended to reduce the consumption of salty foods, as it increases the risk of developing stomach cancer.

To control the use of alcohol

The daily norm is the use of not more than 1 alcoholic beverage for women and 1-2 drinks for men.

The standard drink contains approximately 18 ml of pure alcohol. This is approximately:

  • 350 ml of beer.
  • 240 ml of malt liquor or strong beer.
  • 150 ml of wine.
  • 45 ml of whiskey.

To give birth to a child and to breastfeed

To reduce the impact of estrogen and reduce the risk of breast cancer, women are recommended to give birth to a child under 30 and choose breastfeeding for a period of one year or longer.

Oral contraceptives or hormone replacement drugs increase the risk of cancer, so before using them, consult with Doctor. He will be able to correctly assess the risks of a malignant tumor specifically for you.

Protect yourself from the sun and radiation

Ultraviolet rays come in two types: UVA and UVB. The first damage the deeper layers of the skin, and the second – superficial. You need to protect yourself from all kinds of rays, so choose a sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB. Generously apply the cream 30 minutes before the release. Renew the layer every two hours or after each bath.

To protect the skin from harmful effects, use also sunglasses, cover your head and face with a hat or panama. At noon the sun is most active, therefore it is recommended to be in the shade from 11 to 16 hours.

The level of radiation in the house can be monitored using a special dosimeter device. If the level is above the norm, it can be adjusted.

To prevent radon from accumulating in the room, regularly ventilate the apartment or house. It is also recommended to repair cracks in the floors and walls in the apartment and in the basement of the house, replace the wooden floors with concrete ones, if possible, hold a ventilation system. But before you start repair work, consult an engineer. Perhaps, another solution to this problem will work for you.

To learn about hereditary predisposition

Heredity is a genetic factor that a person can not correct. However, it is important to properly assess the risks and closely monitor the health in order to reduce the likelihood of developing malignant tumors.

Each type of hereditary mutations that increase the risk of developing a tumor corresponds to a certain syndrome of hereditary predisposition to oncology.

If you have a syndrome of hereditary predisposition to malignant tumors, you need to recall the family history of the disease and answer the questions:

  1. How many a relative was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in the family?
  2. What kind of oncologic diagnosis did your relative have?
  3. How many relatives were there when the disease began?
  4. Is the relative still alive?

If several relatives of the first and second degree of kinship have been diagnosed with a malignant tumor, then perhaps you have a predisposition. But the answer to this question will be able to accurately only the doctor-geneticist on the results of the analysis. A complete genetic test can replace PCR for the presence of individual mutations.

It must be remembered that malignant tumors are different. The development risks of each type vary widely and depend on the age of the individual. Therefore, we do not recommend self-diagnostics so that you do not get false ideas about your hereditary predispositions.

Patients with a high risk of developing a malignant tumor are observed at the doctor and regularly undergo examinations. In some cases, such patients are offered to do a prophylactic operation.

Bilateral preventive mastectomy, an operation to remove mammary glands, reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in women with mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 to 90%.

There is a high risk of developing breast cancer in about 1% of women. These include actress Angelina Jolie. Knowing about her risk, she did a mastectomy and an operation to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes. These measures have reduced the risk of developing cancer – and have inspired many women to make informed decisions about their health.

Reduce the impact of stress

Studies have shown that people who experience chronic stress have problems with digestion, fertility, sleep, and a weakened immune system.

When a person is in a stressful state for a long time, protective mechanisms are included in his behavior: a tendency to overeating, smoking, and drinking alcohol. All this increases the risk of developing cancer.

Physical exercises, breathing practices, meditation, relaxing music, communication with loved ones help to cope with stress.

Today Atlas figured out how and how to reduce the risk of development Cancer. In the next article, we will tell you why it is difficult to identify a tumor at an early stage and how screening differs from early diagnosis.

Other articles on cancer:

  1. The mechanism of disease development
  2. Risks and Myths.