WHEN I was a kid, people referred to it as “a disease of the wealthy”. Decades later, cancer became widespread. It is now a major cause of burden for patients and their families who come from all walks of life. Who doesn’t know a person who died of, or someone who is battling cancer? In the Philippines, cancer is one of the leading causes of death. The most common types are cancer of the breast, lung, colon, liver, and prostate. Globally, there is an estimated 18.1 new cases of cancer as of 2018, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Are you at risk of developing any form of cancer? Experts say a person who has a relative who developed cancer is also at risk, and so is someone who is too much exposed to carcinogenic chemicals and radiation. Severe stress weakens the body’s immune system and makes a person unable to fight cancer. Eating too much processed food/loaded with preservatives and eating burnt food are also tagged as culprits.
Other risk factors are smoking, obesity, lack of fiber in the diet, heavy drinking, lack of sunshine, and having a sedentary/inactive lifestyle (cancerresearchuk.org).
As doctors say, we can not change our genetic predisposition to develop certain diseases, but there are factors which can be changed if we want to avoid developing cancer. “Prevention is better than cure.” February 4 is World Cancer Prevention Day. This columnist joins the nation and the world in efforts to help prevent cancer. “Health is wealth”!