June 16, 2024

Carcinogen-Free Living: Tips for Daily Health

Written by our expert

Dr. Anand S Sarkar

Dr. Anand S Sarkar

Fellow in Palliative Medicine (GMC,Kozhikode), International Association for Study of Pain (IASP) South Asian Member

Carcinogen-Free Living: Tips for Daily Health
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Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN) projections for 2020 show that there were 19.3 million incident cases of cancer worldwide. After the United States of America and China, India came in third. According to GLOBOCAN 1 2.08 million new instances of cancer would be diagnosed in India in 2040, representing a 57.5 percent increase from 2020.

It is anticipated that 1.46 million cancer cases in India in 2022 will rise to 1.57 million cases in 2025. The crude rate of incidence per 100,000 people in the country for the year 2022 is 100.4; for males, it is 95.6, and for females, it is 105.4. Male and female lung and breast malignancies, respectively, continue to be the most common cancer locations.

Risk factors of Cancer

Tobacco: There are at least 50 carcinogens in tobacco. For instance, benzopyrenediol epoxide, a tobacco byproduct, has a direct causal link to lung cancer.

Alcohol: According to study results, ethanol is a cocarcinogen rather than a carcinogen 2. In particular, acetaldehyde and free radicals are produced during the metabolism of ethanol; free radicals are thought to be primarily in charge of alcohol-associated carcinogenesis since they attach to proteins and DNA, destroying folate and causing subsequent hyperproliferation. The upregulation of cytochrome P-4502E1, which is linked to increased free radical production and increased activation of several procarcinogens found in alcoholic beverages, is another way that alcohol promotes carcinogenesis.

Diet: The majority of ingested carcinogens, including pesticides, nitrosamines, nitrates, and dioxins, are derived from food, food additives, or cooking.

Obesity: Research has indicated that there are several factors that are similar between obesity and cancer, including inflammation, sex steroids, neurochemicals, hormones including leptin, insulin, and insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and adiposity.

Infectious agents: Infection-related inflammation is the major risk factor for cancer, and almost all viruses linked to cancer have been shown to activate the inflammatory marker.

Environmental pollution: The contaminants that cause air pollution include carbon particles linked to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the outdoors; formaldehyde, tobacco smoke, and volatile organic compounds like benzene and 1,3-butadiene (which can be especially harmful to children); food additives and carcinogenic contaminants like pesticides, nitrates, dioxins, and other organochlorines in the indoor air; carcinogenic metals and metalloids; pharmaceutical drugs; and cosmetics.

Radiation: DNA damage caused by clastogenic electromagnetic radiation can occur. High-voltage power lines, transformers, electric train engines, and electrical equipment in general can cause exposure to electromagnetic fields. EMF exposure has been linked to a higher incidence of malignancies, including brain tumors, breast cancer, and childhood leukemia.

Facts and Figures- Cancer Prevention

Both endogenous and external variables have the potential to start the development of cancer. Endogenous factors are unaffected by behavior or way of life, such as age or genetic predisposition.

Smoking and diet are the two main external environmental and lifestyle variables that cause cancer. Worldwide, exposure to tobacco smoke and smoking cigarettes continue to be the top causes of preventable deaths, notwithstanding a decline in the absolute number of smokers. Therefore, it is undeniable that quitting smoking is the best way to prevent lung cancer.

Numerous international investigations have been carried out to look into how diet and nutrition affect cellular processes involved in carcinogenesis, including immunology, inflammation, apoptosis, and the cell cycle.

These studies demonstrate that a nutritious diet that is well-balanced helps the body receive enough nutrients throughout.

At these levels, improper diet has an effect on metabolism and the microenvironment. Because of this, cells become more prone to harmful alterations such as DNA damage buildup, which leads to the development of cancer. [3]

A poor intake of fruits and vegetables combined with other dietary risk factors resulted in 11 million deaths and almost 255 million disability-adjusted life years in 2017, according to startling statistics cited in a recent Lancet report. It is predicted that between 30 and 50% of cancer cases can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle, avoiding environmental pollutants, and avoiding carcinogens at work. The type of cancer determines a different number.[4] 

Recent Data On Nutrition And Physical Activity Recommendations

Following these lifestyle suggestions such as (According to the World Cancer Research Fund) [5]

  • Eat a Diet Rich in Wholegrains, Vegetables, Fruit and Beans.
  • Limit Consumption of “Fast Foods” and Other Processed Foods High in
  • Fat, Starches, or Sugars.
  • Limit Consumption of Red and Processed Meat.
  • Limit Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption

can help prevent cancer. 

A BMI of less than 30, physical activity of at least 3.5 hours per week, and meeting healthy eating criteria such as consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables or whole grains, for instance, reduce the risk of cancer by approximately 36%.


There Is no evidence that nutritional supplements can prevent cancer. The WCRF cancer prevention recommendations help protect health by encouraging physical activity, a balanced diet, healthy drinking and eating habits, and maintaining a normal weight.

Suppression of NF-κB inhibits the proliferation of tumors, leads to apoptosis, inhibits invasion, and suppresses angiogenesis. Around the world, 60–70% of cancer-related fatalities are linked to tobacco use and diet.


  1. Sung H, Ferlay J, Siegel RL, Laversanne M, Soerjomataram I, Jemal A, et al. Global cancer statistics 2020:GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021;71:209–49.
  2. Anand, P., Kunnumakara, A.B., Sundaram, C. et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes. Pharm Res 25, 2097–2116 (2008).
  3. Eva Kerschbaum, Volkmar Nüssler; Cancer Prevention with Nutrition and Lifestyle. Visc Med 19 August 2019; 35 (4): 204–209. 
  4. Afshin A., et al. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. The Lancet. 2017.
  5. World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Institute for Cancer Research Continuous Update Project Expert Report 2018. Recommendations and public health and policy implications. (AICR) 2018 Available from: https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer.
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