Prevention is, and always will be, best weapon against oncological disease

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and not neglecting screening tests are simple procedures that help to reduce the risk of cancer.

Contrary to what one might think, most types of cancer do not result from hereditary factors. According to the American Cancer Society, only 5% to 10% of cancers are hereditary; most of them result from environmental factors, the environment in which one lives and lifestyle. Therefore, in the fight against cancer, it is very important to adopt healthy habits and, at the same time, to undergo regular screening tests for early detection of possible diseases.

Stop smoking

Lung cancer is among the many types of cancer associated with smoking. There are studies that link smoking habits and the increase in diagnosis and respective mortality associated with 15 different types of cancer. The good news is that it is worth quitting. The risk of cancer of the mouth reduces by half after five years’ abstinence and the same happens with lung cancer, 10 years later.

Follow a healthy diet

Prefer fruit and vegetables, whole grain and legumes and cut down on animal fat, refined sugar, red and processed meats. Several studies establish a direct relationship between eating habits and some types of cancer. It is known, for example, that the Mediterranean diet – more fish, less red meat and using olive oil over other fats – helps to reduce the risk of breast and skin cancer. On the other hand, the likelihood of bowel cancer is higher the greater the consumption of smoked and processed meats.

Maintain a healthy weight and practice physical exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight (a body mass index between 18.5 and 25) helps to lower the risk of several types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney cancer. On average, an adult should engage in 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly. In practice, just include half an hour of walking in your daily routine, from Monday to Friday.

Sun protection

Sunscreen shouldn’t just be kept in the beach bag. One should apply it daily on exposed areas (face and neckline) and especially in the snow or during outdoor activities. Hats with brims, dark clothes and sunglasses are essential accessories between 10am and 4pm, although most sensible is to stay in the shade. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in Portugal, but also one of the easiest to prevent.

Consult your doctor on a regular basis

Consult your doctor for periodic follow-up and carry out regular recommended routine tests and exams. The early detection of an oncological disease is always an advantage and can be decisive for the success of the treatment. In the case of breast cancer, the chance of cure increases by 90%.

Article submitted by the HPA Group