Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Health Sciences Faculty, Nutrition and Dietetics Department academic staff member Sen. Inst. Eliz Arter made a statement about Cancer Week. Arter’s statement reads as follows:
Awareness Should Be Increased for Cancer Prevention"
“Cancer, which ranks second in the global death ranking, is defined as the uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal cells. Cancer mostly occurs with changes in the genetic structure, but sometimes or rarely, it occurs as a result of inherited transmission of 'faulty' genes.
Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that cancer is largely preventable. Especially today, with the development of modern medicine, the acceleration of the early diagnosis process and the increase of awareness in the society are indicators that we have come a long way compared to the past. However, the question may come to mind here, "If there is progress, why is it still in the second place? It should not be forgotten that our lifestyle has also changed compared to the past. Factors such as intense work pace, increase in stress levels, women taking more active roles in business life and reduced time spent in the kitchen and decrease in physical activity affect our lifestyle and can trigger cancer. In addition to these, excessive smoking and alcohol use can also affect the process negatively.
Here, healthy eating is one of the key points at our disposal. Although the speed of the flow of life leads us to ready-made or packaged fast foods, our food choices are critical in preventing cancer. We can give a few examples accordingly:
- Consuming 5 portions of vegetables and fruits, at least 2 fruits and 3 vegetables of different colors during the day, strengthens the immune system and decreases the overall cancer risk.
- Consuming red meat more than 2-3 times a week increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Instead, white meat types such as chicken, fish or legumes containing vegetable protein are healthier alternatives.
- Using vegetable oils, especially olive oil, instead of animal fats and consuming fats without burning them at high temperatures is protective against cancer risk.
- Animal products such as meat, fish and chicken touching the fire and cooking them at high heat for a long time cause the formation of cancer-causing elements. Accordingly, methods such as barbecue cooking, smoking, and frying increase the risk of cancer. Instead of these, cooking methods such as stew, boiling and steaming in a watery environment are healthier.
- Consumption of long-lasting, packaged products and intake of synthetic chemicals are a risk factor for cancer. Chemical substances added to certain products including sausage, salami, etc. to extend their shelf life increase the risk of digestive system cancers. Consequently, it would be a healthier approach to gain the habit of reading food labels and prefer packaged products with more natural and 'clean' content.
- If the body weight is above the values it should be, it creates a risk against other types of cancer, especially breast cancer.
- Healthy eating on its own is not enough and should be supported by a regular exercise program.
As a member of the community, increasing our knowledge and awareness about cancer will help us prevent the risk of occurrence and put cancer into a "preventable" disease category instead of being a "fatal" disease. Thus, with the awareness we have gained within the scope of Cancer Week, we can make it possible for the next generations to grow healthier and free from cancer. "