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40% of cancer cases are preventable

Eating a healthy diet, exercising and abandoning certain harmful life habits can prevent the appearance of many types of tumors

  • Complying with screening recommendations for breast, colon and cervical cancer is also essential to achieving a reduction in the number of cases


In Spain, two out of every three men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer throughout their lives, according to the latest report published by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), a figure that increases exponentially every year. Despite these data, experts insist that approximately 40% of cancer cases can be prevented.

Several epidemiological studies have shown that the regular physical exercise, associated with a healthy diet and the absence of tobacco, can reduce the appearance of cancerous tumors by between 30% and 50%. On the occasion of World Health Day, which is celebrated this Friday, April 7, MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid reminds us that it is in our hands when it comes to preventing cancer.

  1. Do not smoke; if you smoke, stop as soon as possible - Smoking is responsible for 30% of deaths from all cancers and even up to 80-90% of lung cancer. The good news is that after five or ten years of stopping, the risk of cancer is reduced to the same levels as non-smokers.
  2. Do frequent, moderate physical activity - Experts emphasize that physical exercise prevents the appearance of tumors by between 30% and 50%.
  3. Follow a healthy diet - Several epidemiological studies have shown a cause-effect relationship between inadequate nutrition and the development of diseases such as cancer
  4. Avoid alcohol - The risk of cancer increases proportionally to alcohol consumption. Regular consumption increases the likelihood of oral cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer or colon cancer, among others.
  5. Control your weight - Obesity is associated with increased risk of breast cancer (after menopause), cancer of the colon and rectum, cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, kidney or endometrium, among other types of tumors.

In addition exposure to certain environmental conditions are likely to cause cancer. Recognizing and avoiding them is the key to preventing cancer:

  1. Avoid prolonged sun exposure - Avoid sunbathing between 12.00 and 16.00. Use a higher protection factor in the first hours and continue to protect yourself even when your skin is tanned.
  2. Minimizes exposure to carcinogenic substances - Strictly apply current legislation, comply with all safety advice and follow radiation protection regulations.

Finally, experts agree that the main preventive measure is to have regular check-ups. It is fundamental, as oncologists point out, to take the following recommendations into account:

  1. Early diagnosis tests for cervical cancer in women from the age of 25. - Regular vaginal cytology tests and the detection of the papilloma virus detect even alterations that, in 10 or 15 years, can progress to cancer.
  2. Mammograms in women from 50 to 70 years of age. - Periodic tests in women at risk could be extended below this age, as well as above if the woman´s state of health indicates it.
  3.  Screening for colon cancer in men and women over 50. - Tests such as the fecal occult blood test or colonoscopy detect cancer even when it has not yet manifested clinically, and allows monitoring of precancerous lesions.