"Prevention is better than cure." There is a lot of truth in this sentence – especially when it comes to the topic of cancer. Because everybody can do a lot to reduce the risk of getting cancer. This is what the Munich cancer specialist Prof says. Wolfgang Hiddemann.
With a healthier lifestyle, you can "significantly reduce" your cancer risk, says Hiddemann. Here he reveals seven tips that you should definitely take to heart.
Eat a balanced and healthy diet!
Plenty of fruits and vegetables act as a shield against cancer. In addition to vitamins, green vegetables in particular contain other plant substances that have a protective effect, our expert reveals. Because they are delicate, vegetables should be gently steamed in as little water as possible. You should be more economical with meat. Lighter-colored meat, such as that from chicken, is healthier than red meat. Eating a lot of red meat – such as beef, pork or lamb – increases your risk of colorectal cancer. But it also depends on the preparation: Spicy frying produces substances that increase risk. Processed meats and sausages often contain curing salts.
Watch your weight!
If you eat healthily and avoid calorie bombs, you’ll prevent obesity. This is important because it also increases the risk of some cancers, our expert warns. It is still unclear how the effect comes about. In breast cancer, hormones that are accumulated in fatty tissue could play a role. Fat cells would also tend to store and later release cancer-promoting substances.
Get into the swing of things!
You are a sports muffle? Then change it! "Regular exercise is important," says Hiddemann. Large studies with tens of thousands of participants showed: exercise significantly reduces cancer risk. The good news: You don’t have to start jogging or run a marathon to do it: "If you walk regularly, that’s quite enough."At least two hours a week should be a total, preferably spread out over several days. How sport protects? Quite simply: "Exercise stimulates certain defense cells." This is important because every minute of our lives cells in our body divide and multiply – and in the process there are often errors in the genetic material. This is usually not a big deal. Either such cells commit "suicide" or they are destroyed. Or else said immune cells turn them off. Danger averted!
Up front: cancer is not contagious. But: Today we know that chronic infections with some viruses increase the risk of cancer. So hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, can increase the risk of liver cancer. So getting vaccinated against hepatitis viruses protects you from the pathogens and from cancer. The same applies to the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV). Persistent infection increases the risk of cervical cancer – but also of cancer of the penis, vulva, anus, and also the mouth and throat. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends vaccination for girls and boys between 9 and 14 years of age. The earlier, the better. The transmission often takes place during the first sex. "That’s why you should be vaccinated before your first intercourse," advises Hiddemann.
Go to cancer prevention!
Some cancers are not only easier to detect and treat if you go for early detection. In the case of two of them, it is even a real preventive measure: colorectal cancer (colonoscopy for men from the age of 50 and for women from the age of 55; in the case of familial colorectal cancer in Bavaria, depending on the risk, in some cases from the age of 25) and cervical cancer (from the age of 20). In both cases, precancerous lesions can be detected (see interview) and removed before they can develop into cancer.
Avoid carcinogenic substances
Give up smoking! Tobacco smoke contains a whole cocktail of carcinogenic substances. Anyone who comes into contact with asbestos or other carcinogenic substances at work or while remodeling at home should definitely take protective measures.
Protect yourself from UV radiation
Admittedly, sun protection is no longer such a big issue in the fall. In winter at the latest, when skiing, you should get out the sunscreen again. UV radiation is more intense at higher altitudes – and this increases the risk of skin cancer.
INTERVIEW: "What is your personal recipe against cancer??
As an oncologist Prof. Wolfgang Hiddemann cancer patients for many years on Grobhadern Hospital in Munich treats. Today, the former clinic director and Founder of the "lebensmut" association in (in)retirement a conversation about the chances and the limits of prevention.
Do you have a kind of "recipe against cancer"? for our readers?
No. (Laughs). It would be nice if there were! But one should pay attention to a healthy lifestyle. This can reduce the risk of cancer by 20 to 30 percent. So this is quite relevant.
So what should you do specifically?
Pay attention to a "healthy" diet. So: lots of fruit and lots of green vegetables. Spicy fried meat should rather be avoided. And: above all, you should also exercise and do sports. This is very important to reduce the risk of cancer. All things that many people do not really enjoy. So you have to try to find a positive attitude – and say to yourself, "I want to do something good for myself and my body."It makes you feel better.
What one should absolutely leave?
Of course, one should avoid smoking and drink as little alcohol as possible.
And what about food from the microwave- Doesn’t this also increase the risk of cancer??
It’s not carcinogenic. It’s certainly healthier than going to McDonald’s for a burger. But the food suffers when it is prepared in the microwave oven. This destroys many protective substances, such as those found in green vegetables.
What do you actually do yourself to protect yourself from cancer??
I regularly go to preventive checkups, such as at the dermatologist and urologist. I didn’t have a colonoscopy until I was 60 – and it was a good thing that I did, because five or six polyps had to be removed. These are initially benign growths, but after years they might have triggered colon cancer. I’ve been doing sports since I was a teenager, so it’s not so much cancer prevention. I go jogging, play tennis and like to go to the mountains. I like fruits and vegetables, and I’m very lucky that my wife likes to cook healthy meals.