Cancer Prevention: How Can Healthy Lifestyle or Diet Reduce The Risk of Cancer?

By Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan in Nanavati Max Institute of Cancer Care , Hepatobiliary Pancreatic Oncology Program

Apr 24 , 2023 | 3 min read

Cancer is an umbrella term used for a wide gamut of conditions that are marked by the unhealthy multiplication of cells in the body which accumulate to form a tumour. Initially, the cells are localised and affect only the primary site of origin but these can spread to the other organs via the bloodstream. This process is known as metastasis and it usually occurs during the later stages of cancer.

A per the best doctors in Mumbai, Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of mortality globally. If we talk about India alone, 9.6 million people die from cancer annually. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in men followed by prostate and colorectal cancer. As far as the women are concerned, breast cancer tops the list. There are more than 100 different types of cancer all having varied symptoms and causes. All these are named after the primary site of origin, for instance, cancer that develops in the liver is known as liver cancer and that which develops in the lungs is known as lung cancer.

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The problem can affect people of any age group or gender and is quite progressive. There are a plethora of factors that can increase your risks of developing cancer. These include:

  • Biological factors– These include age, gender, genetic defects etc.
  • Environmental factors – These include exposure to harmful radiations
  • Occupational risks– This includes exposure to harmful substances and chemicals
  • Lifestyle practices – These include obesity, smoking, drinking etc.

Doctors specialising in oncology treatment in India suggest that the relation between obesity and cancer is very clear. High levels of unhealthy body fats, commonly known as visceral fats, can increase your risks of developing cancer as well as various other diseases and conditions.

Visceral fats cells are quite large as compared to other healthy body cells. If they start to build up in the body, it will leave no room for oxygen. This triggers inflammation and damages the body, thereby elevating the risks of cancer. Obese people are recommended to avail for regular screenings that are offered at all the leading cancer hospitals in Mumbai.

Now, obesity is a result of unhealthy lifestyle practices and stagnant lifestyle, all of which are quite prominent nowadays. Not only this, excessive smoking and consumption of alcohol too add to the problem. Hence, it is important to resort to healthy lifestyle changes to alleviate the risks of cancer. Here are a few tips that you might find to be useful:

  • Maintain healthy body weight.It is not the pounds that matter but the inches. Make sure that your waist is no larger than 30 to 35 inches.
  • Stay activeand indulge in spots and other activities. Take breaks from work and walk around. Join a gym if possible or start yoga and pilate. You can even go out for morning and evening walks.
  • Limit your calorie intake by avoiding junk food. Junk food addiction is the leading cause of obesity. If you are not able to give up the habit, seek help from a councillor. 
  • Avoid carbonated drinksas these contain unhealthy amounts of sugar which are not good for you. Although these do not directly increase your risks of cancer, they can increase your calorie count.
  • Add more greens to your diet. Eating green veggies helps you to stay fit and also keeps your weight under check.
  • Limit your alcohol intake. Watch your portion size and do not go beyond your daily limit.
  • Replace red meat with lean meat. Try eating fish and chicken and these area healthy source of protein.
  • Cut down on the consumption of salt and sugar.


Medically Reviewed

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan (Director - Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary Surgery & Gastrointestinal Oncology)

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan is the Director - Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary Surgery & Gastrointestinal Oncology and one of the finest Oncosurgeons of India. With an experience of over 22 years, he specialises in surgeries for cancers of liver, bile duct and gall bladder, pancreatic resections for pancreatic cancer, colorectal, stomach, oesophageal and intestinal cancer, neuroendocrine tumours, abdominal sarcomas, retroperitoneal tumours, vascular resections and reconstructions in HPB