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How can we prevent noncommunicable diseases such as cancer?

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are one of the main public health challenges today; since they represent more than 70% of annual deaths in the world. We speak, among others, of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease.

But why are they called noncommunicable diseases?

Noncommunicable, or chronic, diseases are long-term conditions with a generally slow progression which have their origin, in large part, in our lifestyle habits. Thus, health experts point out the consumption of tobacco, poor diet, lack of physical activity and alcohol consumption as the risk factors that most influence the occurrence of such diseases.

In fact, according to the study 'Economic and social impact of Cancer in Spain' prepared by Oliver Wyman for the Spanish Association Against Cancer, it is estimated that between 30 and 50 % of cancer cases can be avoided by following prevention methods . This includes both the acquisition of healthier lifestyle habits, as well as the correct implementation and participation in screening programs for the population at risk.

This would imply not only preventing new cases of cancer and increasing life expectancy; also reduce public health spending. According to this same report, it is estimated that around 9,000 million euros could be reduced of the global costs of cancer, which in Spain amount to at least 19.3 billion euros .

It is essential, therefore, to work in the prevention of this type of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer. Something that from the Spanish Association Against Cancer we have been promoting, along with other entities, through the REDENT prevention network to promote measures that support public authorities, such as, for example, , the expansion of smokeless spaces.

Tips to prevent cancer and other noncommunicable diseases

As we said, leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the prevention factors. Therefore, if you want to avoid cancer and other noncommunicable diseases, start by implementing these tips in your day-to-day life:

1. Eat healthy: bet on a Mediterranean diet

Changes in the diet (low intake of fruits and vegetables, high intake of sugar, excess fats, carcinogens, high intake of salt) have significantly increased rates of overweight and obesity . The latest figures reveal that 39.3 of Spanish adults between 25 and 64 years are overweight and 21.6% obese. This is summarized in an increase in noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular or cancer.

Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet, based on the Mediterranean diet, is essential to prevent cancer.

Read: How should a healthy diet be to prevent cancer?

2. Exercise every day

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), physical inactivity is the fourth risk factor in terms of global mortality (6% of deaths recorded worldwide). For this reason, the practice of physical exercise is essential throughout life because of its ability to prevent various diseases, including cancer. There is sufficient scientific evidence to show that a physically active life can protect, fundamentally, against colon and breast cancer . In addition, regular physical activity helps maintain weight in the proper limits and avoid overweight and obesity.

As for the intensity of the exercise should adapt to each age. For example, between 18 and 64 years of age it is recommended to devote at least 150 minutes per week to the practice of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity each week, or a combination equivalent of moderate and vigorous activities.

You are also interested: 7 tips to reduce your risk of breast cancer

3. Do not smoke! One in three cancers is related to tobacco

It is known that tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, of which at least 250 are harmful and more than 50 cause cancer. In fact, tobacco use is related to up to 15 different types of cancer .

For this reason, in the Spanish Association Against Cancer we offer our support to stop smoking to anyone who needs it through our professionals and therapeutic resources for help, such as our mobile application Respiraap or our guide to quitting smoking.

4. Zero tolerance with alcohol

Finally, it should be remembered that alcohol is the most widespread risk factor in the Spanish population. 62% of Spaniards between 15 and 64 have consumed it in the last month. Almost 10% consume it on a daily basis, its consumption being higher in men.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of suffering, among others, cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectal and mom. If we add to the habitual consumption of alcoholic beverages, the risk of suffering some of these cancers is multiplied 10 to 100 times compared to people who have never smoked or drunk.

The amount of alcohol ingested together with a Poor diet in vegetables, fruit and fruit, common in habitual drinkers, also plays an important role in increasing risk. Therefore, the appropriate amount of alcohol for cancer prevention is none .

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