By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
American Cancer Society’s Updated Guidelines In Cancer Prevention
Cancer is a devastating disease! It is among the leading cause of death worldwide.
Former Survivor contestant Sunday Burquest, 49, recently shared that she was diagnosed with esophageal cancer that has spread to her lymph nodes and ovaries.
According to one report, Burquest fought breast cancer back in 2012. Through surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, she was able to overcome it and was declared cancer-free in 2016.
We wish her a quick recovery from her current battle with cancer.
There are also numerous studies which suggest that being overweight and obese may increase the risk for female breast, colorectal, esophageal, uterine, pancreas, and kidney cancers. And the problem is that the population of overweight and obese people has been increasing over the past several decades - about two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are now overweight or obese.
Of course, we cannot fully control whether we get cancer or not. But, fortunately, there are some factors within our control. And some of these factors include diet and other lifestyle habits.
“Only 5–10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects, whereas the remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle. The lifestyle factors include cigarette smoking, diet (fried foods, red meat), alcohol, sun exposure, environmental pollutants, infections, stress, obesity, and physical inactivity,” according to one study.
And now, the American Cancer Society recently updated their guidelines regarding diet and physical activity in regards to preventing cancer (the last update was conducted in 2012). Changes to the guidelines include recommendations to get more physical activity, eating less or no processed meat or red meat and avoiding alcohol or drinking less of it.
I think this is very interesting because we live in a culture where drinking alcohol is very common and acceptable. Meat heavy diets such as the keto diet and paleo diet are also very popular.
The guidelines, which you can view here, also emphasize consuming less or no sugar-sweetened beverages, limiting sedentary behavior (such as watching television and sitting) and limiting or avoiding completely processed foods and refined grain products.
The new guidelines recommend eating a variety of vegetables (such as leafy greens, carrots and bell peppers) and fiber-rich legumes, including beans and peas. Eating fruits are also recommended as well as whole grains.
“Vegetables (including beans) and fruits are complex foods, each containing numerous vitamins, minerals, fiber, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other bioactive substances, such as sterols, indoles, and phenols, that may help prevent cancer,” the guidelines state.
“There is ongoing research on the potential cancer chemopreventive properties of particular vegetables and fruits, or groups of these, including dark‐green and orange vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (eg, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts), soy products, legumes, allium vegetables (onions and garlic), and tomato products. Vegetables and fruits may also indirectly influence cancer risk through effects on energy intake or body weight.”
The American Cancer Society also reports that recent estimates attribute 4.2 to 5.2 percent of cancer cases per year directly to poor diet.
We have to be proactive and take matters into our own hands. Avoid smoking, get moving, drink less alcohol or none at all, spend less time sitting and watching television and eat a healthy diet rich in plant-based, nutrient-dense foods. Let’s work together on lowering these alarmingly high cancer rate statistics.
Finally, it is extremely important to avoid nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. Not being nutritionally balanced may make you more prone to a myriad of diseases including cancer. Take routine nutrient tests. If the test reveals you are not nutritionally balanced, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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