A cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth, invasion and sometimes metastasis. Cancer may affect people at all ages, but the risk for most varieties increases with age. In the whole world it is estimated that, 7.6million people died from cancer during 2007. Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genetic material of the transformed cells. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, or infectious agents. Other cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities may be inherited.

Cancer can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy or other methods. The choice of therapy depends upon the location and grade of the tumor and the stage of the disease, as well as the general state of the patient.

Some factors that increase our risk of developing cancers are modifiable and are linked with our lifestyle. Regular alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of oral, esophageal, breast, and other cancers. Physical inactivity has been associated with increased risk of colon and breast cancers whilst being overweight is associated with an increased risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancers. Smoking is also linked with lung cancer.Though some foods have been linked with having either a beneficial or detrimental effect on cancer risk, research has failed to establish actual links to cancer. Some studies have reported that reduced meat consumption is associated with decreased risk of colon cancer. Other studies have linked consumption of grilled meat to an increased risk of stomach cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer, a phenomenon which could be due to the presence of carcinogens in foods cooked at high temperatures.

The right nutrition can help cancer patients get the nutrients needed to maintain body weight and strength, prevent body tissue from breaking down, rebuild tissue, and fight infection. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can also help the patient feel better and stay stronger. Cancer brings some side effects on patients which make it difficult for them to eat well. Some of these symptoms that interfere with eating include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, mouth sores, trouble with swallowing, and pain. The patient’s appetite, taste, smell, and the ability to eat enough food or absorb the nutrients from food may be affected. A real threat to cancer patients is malnutrition which can cause the patient to be weak, tired, and unable to resist infections or withstand cancer therapies.

We can follow some recommendations to help reduce our risk of developing cancer and this includes reducing intake of foods and drinks that promote weight gain, such as fatty and sugary snacks and sugary drinks. Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is important. Reducing consumption of processed meat e.g. sausages, bacon, corned beef and fatty meat in general also would also help us. Consumption of all alcoholic beverages should be minimized.


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