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Study of 51 million people finds the 10 best ways to avoid cancer

By David Coory

The World Cancer Research Fund recently hired a London public research university, Imperial College, to do a robust, independent study of 51 million people and 17 different types of cancer to determine the main causes of cancer.

Cancer is now becoming the most common cause of death in developed countries like New Zealand.

Imperial College employed independent scientists from across the world, to review decades of scientific evidence, to come up with the most reliable cancer prevention advice currently available. They then summarised them into 10 cancer prevention rules which are listed below. Oddly, smoking wasn’t mentioned.

Dr Mitrou of the World Cancer Research Fund states, "Our recommendations work as a blueprint to beat cancer, because they are based on evidence that has now proved consistent for decades." His report, released in May 2018, warned that if we in the developed nation, fail to adopt a cancer preventive lifestyle, cancer rates will increase by about 60% in the present generation of those who are under 40 years old.

I myself have lived these rules for some years now, with the exception of rule 8 (and actually find them quite easy) but they will no doubt be unwelcome to most people, as they affect some enjoyable pastimes of life. On the other hand, cancer inflicts some of the worst suffering imaginable, so “we make our choices.” An occasional lapse of the 10 rules should not do much harm.

So brace yourself – here they are:

10 proven ways to slash your risk of cancer

  1. Maintain a healthy weight by keeping your weight within the recommended healthy range for your age. (Being overweight is linked to the following cancers – bowel, breast and uterine).
  2. Be physically active as part of your everyday life – walk more and sit less. If you have a sedentary job take special care to build exercise into your everyday life.
  3. Consume a daily diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruit and beans.
  4. Control your calorie intake by limiting your consumption of fast food and other processed food high in fat, starches or sugars. (The ‘Mediterranean diet’ praised by health experts, now barely exists in southern Europe. While the spread of junk food is fuelling a soaring obesity rate).
  5. Avoid all processed meat and limit your intake of red meat. (Processed meat includes bacon, hamburger, sausages, hot dogs, luncheon, etc.) Burned, blackened protein of all barbequed meat and additives like nitrites in processed meat, are linked to the following cancers – colon, bladder, stomach and pancreatic.
  6. Avoid all high sugar drinks. These include soft drinks, fruit juice, wine and cordials. Doing this alone cuts your risk of cancer by about 40%.
  7. Avoid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is linked to the following cancers – breast, bowel, liver, mouth, throat, oesophagus, squamous cell and stomach.
  8. Do not solely rely on high dose supplements for cancer prevention. You should aim to meet your basic nutritional needs through diet.
  9. Mothers, breastfeed your babies exclusively for six months if possible, then partly supplement up to two years of age or beyond. Breastfeeding is best for both mother and baby.
  10. Individuals with a cancer diagnosis should consult an appropriately trained health professional as soon as possible. Cancer survivors should follow the first eight recommendations after treatment.
    1. Seven more advanced nutritional recommendations from the ‘Avoiding Cancer’ chapter of my book 'Stay Healthy by supplying what's lacking in your diet'

      1. Get enough omega 3 – a lack of omega 3 seriously limits your immune system.
      2. Reduce your omega 6 fat intake – omega 6 comes mostly from margarine, fried fast food and vegetable fats/oils. It seriously suppresses our immune system when our ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is above 9 to 1. Optimum ratio is 3 to 1.
      3. Get enough vitamin D – unless you regularly spend hours outdoors without sunscreen, take a supplement.
      4. Get enough oxygen – ensure a constant supply of fresh air indoors, even in winter. The less oxygen in our air, the weaker our immune system.
      5. Sleep well – poor sleep seriously weakens our immune system and can allow cancer to gain a hold.
      6. Take 200mcg of selenium daily – in a seven year study of 1300 older people, the incidence of cancer among those who took 200mcg of selenium daily was 42% lower than those given a placebo.
      7. Take 400mcg of folate daily – a large study found 400mcg a day of folate reduced the incidence of colon cancer by a massive 75%.