How can I reduce my risk of cancer?

It is estimated that half of all cancer deaths are preventable through lifestyle changes. Doctor Marisa Kurz gives tips on how to reduce your risk of cancer. by Marisa Kurz

Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes as far as possible is an important component of cancer prevention. Most cancer patients die from lung cancer, very often caused by regular smoking. The most important risk factor for cancer related to diet is excessive alcohol consumption.

understand cancer

Statistically, almost every second person will develop some type of cancer in their lifetime. Because you are affected yourself or know someone who is affected, the topic affects everyone. At the same time, many patients and their families know very little about the disease. What happens in the body? Why do only some people get cancer? And how individual is cancer therapy? Doctor Marisa Kurz answers these and other questions in her column “Understanding Cancer” . Because only those who are informed can make self-determined decisions.

Statistically, almost every second person will develop cancer in their lifetime. There are around 500,000 people in Germany every year. Around 230,000 people in Germany die of cancer every year . However, scientists estimate that around half of all cancer deaths could be avoided through lifestyle changes. As a doctor in an oncology department, I consider cancer prevention to be a topic that unfortunately still receives too little attention and deserves more attention. It is true that many factors in the development of cancer cannot be influenced. But I am convinced that everyone can at least reduce their individual cancer risk. I’ll explain how here.

smoking and passive smoking

Cancer develops when there are errors in the blueprint of the body’s building blocks, the cells. Internal and external factors are responsible for this . The positive: Some of them can be influenced. The most important avoidable risk factor for developing cancer is smoking . Because lung cancer is the cancer that kills by far the most people worldwide and nine out of ten lung cancer patients smoke or have smoked for a long time. And smoking not only massively increases the risk of lung cancer, but also of other cancers, such as the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, kidney, cervix, bladder and intestines. Secondhand smoke also increases the risk of cancer. Quitting smoking not only protects you, but also others.

normal weight and exercise

The next major preventable risk factor for cancer is obesity. It has been known for a long time that it promotes the development of numerous cancers such as colon, breast, pancreatic or esophageal cancer. In addition to the so-called body mass index, which compares height and weight, the distribution of fat in certain areas of the body plays a particularly important role. By measuring waist circumference, one can estimate how much fat surrounds the abdominal organs. This fat causes inflammatory reactions as well as hormonal and metabolic changes, thus contributing to the development of cancer .

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