Web Desk: World Cancer Day is internationally marked on February 4th. The aim of the day is to increase awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, early detection, and treatment.
The estimated number of deaths due to cancer in 2018 was 9.5 million, which amounts to a whopping 26,000 deaths a day. This number is expected to increase as environmental stresses increase, air quality worsens, lifestyles and eating habits too!
Substances that induce free radical damage and promote cancerous cells are called carcinogens. Carcinogens can be different agents like:
- Physical carcinogens (ultraviolet and ionizing radiations)
- Biological carcinogens (certain bacteria, viruses and parasites)
- Chemical carcinogens (synthetic products created by industry, components of smoke, pesticide residues, chemicals used in the food industry etc).
Some of the more factors are:
- increasing age
- stressful lifestyle associated with poor nutritional status owing to low fruit & vegetable intake
- use of tobacco, alcohol
- chronic infections
- being overweight too increases the risk of breast, esophageal, colorectal, ovarian and endometrial cancer.
Food also contributes to cancer of different types, such foods include:
Highly salted food: Consuming highly salted food can lead to stomach cancer by damaging the stomach lining and causing inflammation.
Processed and smoked meat: Processed meat can increase the risk of bowel, stomach and pancreatic cancer. When smoked foods are cooked at high temperature, the nitrates convert into nitrites.
Microwavable popcorn: The bag of microwavable popcorns is lined with perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) which is a likely carcinogen.
Hydrogenated fats: Change the shape of cellular membranes and promote the growth of abnormal cells, these are definitely very harmful.
Artificial sweeteners: Switching to artificial sweeteners to save some calories is not a wise decision either. Several studies have shown a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer risk in lab studies.