What Is Cancer?
For a common man to understand what cancer is, is that it can be defined as uncontrolled growth of cells and their spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can start in any part of the body and spread rapidly to other parts. Ageing of cells and forming of new ones is a common process, but when these cells grow rapidly when not required by the body, they form tumors. These tumors can be cancerous or non-cancerous.
Cancerous tumors or malignant tumors spread into other tissues and other parts of the body as well. These tumors, when removed, tend to grow back after a period of time. Non-cancerous tumors do not spread to other tissues or parts of the body and do not grow back once removed.
What Are The Causes Of Cancer?
The factors that cause cancer may vary from case to case. It could be genetic, environmental, or constitutional characteristics of an individual. There is no single cause for cancer, it is the combination of many factors together. Some of the causes of cancer could be as follows:
- Genetic predisposition or gene mutation
- Use of tobacco
- Certain infections like Hepatitis B and C and human papillomavirus
- Exposure to ultraviolet radiations from sun and other ionizing radiations like x-rays.
- Environmental Pollutants
- Immunosuppressive medicines
Other factors that can cause cancer include consumption of alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity and obesity. The risk of cancer increases with age.
What Are The Types Of Cancer?
There are more than 100 types of cancers, named after the organ or tissue they are formed in. Most common types of cancer that affect men are lung, prostate, stomach, colon and rectum. Cancers that affect women the most are the cancer of the breast, colon, rectum, lung and cervix.
Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
Cancer is a disease which can affect anyone. Bringing about certain changes in our lifestyle only helps us reduce the risk of contracting it. Here are a few tips to follow that are sure to help you reduce the risk of cancer
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit consumption of added sugars and solid fats
- Include vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Moderate your portions of red and processed meats
- Focus on proteins obtained from plants
- Limit alcohol consumption
The treatment of cancer depends on various conditions such as the stage in which the cancer is, the organ or tissue affected, immunity of the patient and so on. We have come up with 7 commonly available foods that can be incorporated in our regular diet that help prevent cancer.
Spinach Lowers The Risk Of Acquiring Esophageal Cancer
Unstable molecules called free radicals should be removed from the body before they start damaging it. Spinach has abundance of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that remove such free radicals from our body. In an NIH/AARP study of more than 490,000 participants, it was found that people who ate more spinach had low chances of developing esophageal cancer.
Carrots Slower The Growth Of Cancer Causing Cells
Carrots are one of the most commonly available vegetables. They have an anti-oxidant called beta-carotene which helps membranes from toxin damage and lowers the growth of cancer cells. Carrots are better and most useful when cooked, as the nutrients are retained when they are boiled or steamed. Carrots also have other vitamins and phytochemicals that guard against cancers of the breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and stomach.
Tomatoes Have Antioxidants That Can Help Prevent Cancer
Lycopene, a phytochemical which is a powerful antioxidant is present in tomatoes in the most concentrated form. Lycopene rich diet helps protect against prostate cancer. Presence of this antioxidant makes tomatoes act as a guard against cancer and heart diseases. Having cooked or processed tomatoes is the best form of consumption since the heat breaks down the plant’s cell walls, making cancer fighting compounds easily available to your body.
Broccoli Helps Prevent Cancers Of Prostate, Lung, Colon And Breast
Broccoli, like its other cruciferous vegetables contains glucosinolates, which produce protective enzymes when the cell walls are ruptured while chewing these vegetables raw. These enzymes are also produced in our intestines and get activated when raw or processed broccoli passes through it. Broccoli has sulforaphane, which might help in detoxifying our body of the harmful pollutants in the environment. Broccoli helps protect cancers of the prostate, lung, colon and breast among many others.
Soy Helps Prevent Breast Cancer
Presence of unique phytonutrients in soy makes it the preferred food to avoid certain types of cancers. While clinical trials are underway to define the role of soy in preventing cancer, many doctors suggest that including soy foods such as edamame, tofu, soy milk and miso is helpful in lowering the risk of breast cancer. However, it is not recommended to have isoflavone pills and powders.
Green Tea Contains A Nontoxic Chemical Called Epigallocatechin-3 Gallate
One cup of green tea is supposed to contain 100-200 mg of a nontoxic substance called epigallocatechin-3 gallate. This enzyme has properties that act against Urokinase, an enzyme which aids growth of cancer cells. Green tea is an antioxidant and can form an important part of anti-cancer diet. The medicinal properties of green tea can help in curing Liver, Breast, Pancreatic, Lung, Esophageal and skin cancer.
Turmeric Has Curcumin Which Helps Prevent Cancer
According to American Cancer Society, Curcumin can hamper some cancer cells and slow down the spread of cancer in humans. Curcumin has also shown good results when tested on animals. It could shrink tumors in some animals. Curcumin is abundantly found in turmeric, a common spice found in Indian households. It is used extensively in preparation of Indian curries.
Pro Tip: Add a pinch of turmeric to a cup of warm milk and consume daily before going to bed. It has proven health benefits.