Cancer is a complex condition but at the same time it can be viewed simply as the uncontrolled multiplication of cells whose DNA has been damaged.
Our cells are genetically programmed to survive for a certain time and multiply at a certain rate. Sometimes however the DNA coding that controls these processes becomes damaged and the accelerated and chaotic growth that follows can eventually result in a primary tumour that invades the surrounding tissues and interferes with our body’s systems.
Some of tumour’s cells can also break away and be carried by the blood or lymphatic systems to other areas of the body where they may form secondary tumours – a process known as metastasis.
Although we can sometimes inherit these cancer-causing genetic mutations from our parents, around 95% of cancers start as a result of DNA damage that occurs during the course of our lifetime.
These ‘lifetime mutations’ can occur naturally as a result of mistakes during cell division – after all, faultlessly replicating DNA’s 22,000 genes each time a cell divides is a pretty tough challenge!
Many mutations however occur as a result of our lifestyles and environmental exposures – and it’s these mutations that we can prevent.
At least one in three cases of cancer are preventable through the lifestyle and environmental choices we make.
Avoiding tobacco smoke is by far the most effective thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing a wide range of cancers – but eating or avoiding certain foods, minimising your alcohol intake, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight make up the rest of the lifestyle tool-kit.
The top environmental choices you can make are minimising your exposure to cancer-causing substances at work and protecting yourself from the ultraviolet radiation of the the sun and tanning devices.
Quealth demystifies this complex and emotive disease and helps you to make clear sense of how you can minimise your cancer risk and achieve significant improvements in your health and daily wellbeing through a handful of highly effective lifestyle changes.
Paul Nash – Quealth Clinical Lead