Lifestyle as risk factor for cancer
Almost half of cancers are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Prof. Dr. Kamer Mutafoğlu, Head of Division of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), pointed that majority of cancer types were preventable. Mutafoğlu said, “Nearly one-third of deaths caused by cancer are associated with five main lifestyle factors such as tobacco products, alcohol consumption, malnutrition, obesity, and lack of physical activity. Use of tobacco and tobacco products alone is the most significant cancer risk factor.”
Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu, who indicated that 30-50% of cancer types were preventable by avoiding risk factors and opting for healthy life choices, stated that based on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study for almost 15 years, up to 36% of cancers were preventable by healthy lifestyle.
'24.1 million new cancer cases are expected by 2030'
Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu reported that according to GLOBOCAN 2018 global cancer data, the global cancer burden has risen to 18.1 million cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths. “Countries are facing an overall increase in the absolute number of cancer cases. The experts warn that 24.1 million new cancer cases are expected by 2030 if no actions are taken and some 13 million people will die because of cancer. Turkish Statistical Institute 2017 data indicated that 19.5% of deaths in our country were caused by cancer,” said Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu.
Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu, who pointed that prevention and early diagnosis became the most important strategy in fight against cancer, stated the following: “Personal choices and efforts alone are not enough for healthy living unfortunately. We should benefit from the resources of mother earth wisely. Healthcare services should be structured to provide “healthy lifestyle guide” primarily. Based on this principle, Izmir University of Economics Faculty of Medicine curriculum integrated the “Lifestyle Medicine” theme into its entire training. Our choices, lifestyle and the environment we live in are significant factors that identify cancer risks. Instead of avoiding risk factors such as tobacco products and alcohol to stay away from cancer, we need to maintain a balanced diet and active lifestyle. Getting Hepatitis B and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), vaccines are important as prevention. Increasing environmental awareness, preserving nature, decreasing air pollution are also important points in protection from cancer. Early diagnosis is very valuable in decreasing deaths caused by cancer. Therefore, it is important to get age appropriate screening for cancer.”
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