Uhuru’s warning on cancer: Here are the poor lifestyle choices he meant
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged Kenyans to change their lifestyles even as the government increased funding on cancer treatment.
He announced plans to build cancer treatment centres to alleviate the suffering of people affected by the disease.
“Tabia zetu pia sio kama zile zilikuwa za zamani, lazima tuangalie what is it that we do today that our forefathers never did that is causing this disease to spread as fast as it is in our country,” he told mourners at the requiem mass of Governor Joyce Laboso at Bomet Green Stadium.
Some of the lifestyle changes that can lower the risk of cancer include:
Reduced consumption of red and processed meat – The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer.
Eating processed meat increases your risk of bowel and stomach cancer.
Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork, has been classified as a Group 2A carcinogen which means it probably causes cancer.
Alcohol consumption – Alcohol consumption is proven to increase risk of seven different types of cancer including mouth, throat, oesophagus, stomach, bowel, liver and breast cancer.
Alcoholic drinks contain ethanol, which irritates body cells. Over a prolonged period of time (even with moderate amounts), this cell irritation can lead to cancer.
Alcohol can damage the lining of the mouth and throat causing cancer. Alcohol can also impact the levels of hormones that are linked to breast cancer.
Overweight – Being overweight can cause up to 11 different types of cancer. These include breast (post-menopause), bowel, kidney, liver, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, oesophagus, gallbladder, pancreas and prostate (advanced) cancers.
Excess body weight increases insulin resistance, which leads to the pancreas producing more insulin. Elevated levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 can promote the growth of cancer cells.
Excess body weight can also increase sex steroid hormones, which are linked to endometrial and post-menopause breast cancer.
Smoking – It is the biggest risk factor for preventable cancer. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals including 69 that are carcinogens (known to cause cancer). When you inhale, these chemicals enter your lungs and spread through your body via blood and lymph systems. This can interrupt normal cell growth, causing cells to multiply too fast or develop abnormally, which can (and often does) result in cancer cells.
Exposure to second-hand smoke is a cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. When smokers expose non-smokers to second-hand smoke, they inhale many of the same cancer-causing chemicals that smokers inhale.