World Cancer Day came and went, but our work to confront this disease must not let up. A recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that the number of cancer diagnoses across the globe is expected to soar from 14 million to nearly 22 million by 2030, a 53 percent increase from 2012.
The WHO annual report, which involved more than 250 scientists from 40 different countries, predicts that in the next 20 years, one in five men and one in six women will eventually get cancer by the time they reach 75.
Perhaps the most shocking finding from the WHO report is that more than 30 percent of these cancers could be prevented, mainly by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What exactly does this mean? Here are some cancer prevention tips from the WHO:
- Avoid tobacco – Tobacco use causes 22 percent of cancer deaths worldwide each year, making it single largest preventable cause of cancer.
- Limit alcohol – Heavy alcohol use can increase the risk of many cancer types, including oral, esophageal, liver, colorectal and breast cancers.
- Eat a healthy diet - Diets high in fruits and vegetables may have a protective effect against many cancers. Read cancer nutrition tips.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Obesity is linked to a higher risk of many types of cancer, such as colorectal, breast, endometrial, esophageal and kidney cancers. Get simple tips to maintaining a healthy weight.
- Be physically active – Lack of physical activity is estimated to be the main cause for 21 - 25 percent of breast and colon cancers. Regular exercise may lower your risk of breast, colon, uterine and prostate cancers. Learn about exercise, prevention and quality of life.
- Get vaccinated – One fifth of all cancers worldwide are caused by a chronic infection. In developing countries, up to 20 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented by immunizations, such as the hepatitis B vaccine for liver cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for cervical cancer. Read more about HPV and cancer.
There is no community in the world that is free from cancer. It’s time to get serious about prevention. The fact that one-third of all cancer cases could be prevented means we need to do more to promote healthy lifestyles and lower cancer incidence across the globe.
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