Changes to help prevent cancer

Changes to help prevent cancer

My Jersey Evening Post article from 20th February; it’s about cancer.

February 4th saw World Cancer Day; at the same time there was a news release that obesity-related cancers are on the rise.

Cancer Research UK tells us that: obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK; more than 1 in 20 cancer cases are caused by excess weight; and the risk is higher the more weight a person gains and the longer they are overweight for.

Their theme this year is, “I can, we can”; they hope to spread the message that everyone can “help address the cancer burden by making lots of small changes that are kept up over time”.

Political changes are needed too, but we know how slow that can be, so don’t hold your breath waiting. We can take personal charge now by cooking unprocessed foods at low temperatures and ditching sugar, soft drinks and industrial seed oils (such as sunflower).

Whatever your weight, and even if you eat occasional “convenience” foods, having a smaller eating window and not snacking can help your health enormously.

Is it all about diet? No. There are other modern-day environmental factors that can contribute to cancer. Just one factor may not cause disease, but it’s the total load on a body that can tip the balance; starting to be aware and making small changes as a result is a positive start.

Let’s look at a few examples, starting with xeno-oestrogens. They are found in plastic bottles, birth control pills, pesticides, nail varnish, processed foods that contain soy protein isolate, dryer sheets, makeup and more. Avoid the xenos where you can!

Carcinogenic or not (it’s in hot dispute) the weed-killer glyphosate still slays good gut bacteria, inhibits uptake of some minerals and disrupts key chemical pathways – all of these are needed for good immune health and to help stave off cancer.

Please lobby for its banishment from Jersey.

Another contributing factor is lack of sunshine, leading to low levels of vitamin D, so get outside when you can! The jury is still out on contributions from deodorants and mobile phone emissions; keep watch for the latest research.

Lastly, please have regular smear tests and get unusual lumps checked by your doctor.

There is only one way to finish this week’s column and that is by saying a huge thank you to all the people involved in cancer care in Jersey: you are marvellous and so much appreciated.

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