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The global statistics for cancer remain dismal: It accounted for nearly 10 million deaths last year. As the World Health Organization explains, “one defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries”. This gives it a unique advantage that often renders treatments ineffective.
Measures aimed at reducing the risk of cancer developing in the first place are therefore paramount.
The role diet plays in developing the risk of cancer is complex and far from conclusive.
Scientists need to carry out very large studies to see which specific foods might reduce the risk of cancer, and which could raise the risk.
However, specific items have attracted the attention of medical experts because they have been shown to promote the growth of cancerous cells.
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One worrisome ingredient is processed white flour, which is found in pastries, bread, and other everyday groceries.
“A common ingredient that has been shown to cause cancer is processed white flour,” warned Hussain Abdeh, Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct.
Mr Abdeh explained: “Flour is bleached with chlorine gas, which is a chemical used to make the flour whiter.
“It is easier for cancer tumours to grow in the body if the person’s blood sugar levels are higher.”
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What’s more, “processed white flour raises both insulin and blood sugar levels due to having a higher glycaemic rate, increasing the risk of cancer”, warned the pharmacist.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), advises steering clear of “more highly processed foods” such as white flour because they have generally undergone industrial processing and are often higher in energy and lower in micronutrients.
“There is also strong evidence that glycaemic load (the increase in blood glucose and insulin after eating food) is a cause of endometrial cancer,” the AICR warns.
Endometrial cancer starts when cells in the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) start to grow out of control.According to Cancer Research UK, not smoking is the biggest thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.
“Chemicals in cigarette smoke get into our bloodstream and can cause damage around the body,” explains the charity.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is quit.
Physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.Regular exercise appears to influence cancer risk both directly and indirectly.
“Physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer. Exercise also appears to reduce a woman’s risk of breast and possibly reproductive cancers,” notes Harvard Health.
What’s more, exercise will help protect you even if you don’t lose weight, the health body says.
“Obesity increases the risk of many forms of cancer. Calories count; if you need to slim down, take in fewer calories and burn more with exercise.”
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