Cancer and Diet – How Are They Related?
Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade and destroy other tissues. Cancer is a cumulative term that encompasses more than 100 forms of the disease. Cancer can affect different parts of the human body. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell that they affect.
Cancer harms the body when cells or groups of cells reproduce uncontrollably and damage healthy cells and tissues around them, except n the case of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function. The damage can interfere with the digestive system, the nervous system, and the circulatory system, and inhibit normal functioning of the body. In recent years, a strong correlation has been established between cancer and diet. Experts believe that nearly a quarter of all cancer related deaths are caused by unhealthy diets and obesity. Diet influences the incidence of many different types of cancer, including cancers of the bowels, stomach, mouth, food pipe, and breast.
Excessive consumption of alcohol has been proven to greatly increase the risk of contracting cancer. Breast cancer in women is linked to alcohol intake. Alcohol also increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver, stomach, and ovaries. Consumption of processed meat is another major contributor to incidence of cancer. Studies have shown that the risk of stomach cancer can increase by up to 18% on consumption of even one ounce a day of processed meats. Smoking and consumption of chewing tobacco has long been established as the major cause of cancer of the mouth and throat.
Anti-cancer diets are increasingly becoming popular to reduce the risk of cancer. It is generally accepted that consumption of foods high in fibre lowers the possibility of the incidence of cancer. Foods like fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and many other phytochemicals can also lower the risk of some types of cancer.
Simple lifestyle changes can have a major impact in reducing the risk of cancer. Some exercise daily, increase in consumption of fruit and vegetables, reduced intake of red meats and saturated fat, reduced intake of alcohol, and a generally healthy lifestyle can prevent the incidence of many common forms of cancer.