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10 Tips to Reduce Risk Factors of Cancer

08 December 2023 · 3 mins read

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World Cancer Day is a global initiative observed on 4 February each year to raise awareness about cancer, and encourage prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. Approximately 1 in 4 new cancers can be prevented through adjusting avoidable or modifiable risk factors. Find out more.

Cancer is a medical condition that occurs when the genes in individual cells that make up the human body start to behave differently from normal cells. These cells begin to grow out of control and spread to other regions of the body.

Did you know that one in ten Malaysians are affected by cancer? Almost 49,000 new cases were reported in 2020 and the numbers are expected to double by 2040.

The TOP five most common cancers in Malaysia are:

  1. Breast cancer
  2. Colorectal (colon) cancer
  3. Lung cancer
  4. Nasopharyngeal cancer (one of the head & neck cancers)
  5. Liver cancer

Certain lifestyle choices have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. These include smoking, being overweight, unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.

Answer the questions on this Cancer Risk Quiz to find out how to reduce your cancer risk.

Consider these 10 tips to reduce your cancer risk

Simple lifestyle modifications can have a significant impact. Approximately 1 in 4 new cancers can be prevented through adjusting avoidable or modifiable risk factors.

  1. Stop smoking: Cigarette smoking and tobacco usage is the largest preventable cause of cancer. Smoking is linked to several types of cancers including lung, mouth, and throat cancers.

    The best time to quit smoking is now! Talk to your doctor about the strategies available to quit smoking. Make your home smoke-free too because second-hand smoke is also a known cause of lung cancer.

  2. Maintain a healthy body weight: Excess body fat increases the risk of many types of cancer.

  3. Have a healthy diet: Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit foods high in sugar, salt, saturated fat, and processed meat.

  4. Be physically active: Being physically active has been associated with a lower risk of cancer. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes ranging from a brisk walk to moderate-intensity activities. Sedentary behaviour has been associated with an increased risk of cancer.

  5. Alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption can increase the risk of mouth, larynx, liver, oesophageal, colon and breast cancer. Limit your alcohol intake.

  6. Avoid too much sun: Avoid exposure to sunlight or any harmful sources of ultraviolet radiation for an extended period. Remember to use sun protection such as sunscreen.

  7. Avoid environmental and industrial toxins: Some chemicals, metals, dusts, fibres, and occupations have been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers.

  8. Follow your doctor’s advice if you are on hormone replacement therapy.

  9. Get vaccinated: The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can be effective against cervical cancer.

  10. Attend cancer screening programme: Screening tests aim to detect cancer earlier when treatment would be more effective. For women, mammograms can help detect breast cancer early. A pap smear is a primary screening tool for cervical cancer. It collects a small sample of cells from the cervix to detect precancerous and cancerous conditions of the cervix. Other screening tests include colonoscopy for colon cancer. And low-dose computed tomography for lung cancer.

Make an Appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. If you experience any signs and symptoms of cancer or would like to be screened for cancerget in touch with us to find out more about our Oncology Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

Gleneagles Hospital works with oncologists to assist patients through cancer treatment. The caring and multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals are available for consultation and to provide the best care.


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