There is a remarkable relationship between lifestyle and cancer. Prof. Dr. Kamer Mutafoğlu, Head of Division of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), pointed that majority of cancer types were preventable by avoiding risk factors and opting for healthy life choices. “Nearly one-third of deaths caused by cancer are associated with five main lifestyle factors such as tobacco products, alcohol consumption, malnutrition, obesity, and lack of physical activity. Use of tobacco and tobacco products alone is the most significant cancer risk factor. It is accounted for 22% of leading cause of death globally. Using tobacco products is associated with development of lung, throat, mouth, esophagus, kidney, urinary track, pancreas, stomach, and cervical cancers”.
For many cancer types, early-diagnosis along with proper treatment turns into high survival rates, indicated Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu and said that a healthy lifestyle became the most important cancer prevention strategy today. Therefore, she said, people were responsible for making healthy choices for controllable risk factors. Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu said, “For starters, we should avoid tobacco products, and assert our right to not to be exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke. We should maintain a healthy body weight, eat healthy and exercise regularly. However, a healthy life, without a doubt, is closely related to the environment-country-planet we live on. Therefore, lawmakers and law enforcers have an important job to do. Policies, not only in health services but also in every field that has to do with nature and its balance, have to be structured on prioritizing healthy lifestyle. Features of the environment we live in is one of the most important variable that determines our cancer risk for certain cancer types”.
‘Cancer kills 9 million people a year’
Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu pointed that cancer was the second leading cause of death globally and accounted for more than 9 million death, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data. Prof. Dr. Mutafoğlu, who said that cancer was also the second leading cause of death in Turkey followed by cardiovascular diseases, based on the data by Turkish Statistical Institute, stated the following:
“In 2016, 80 thousand 577 deaths out of 480 thousand 782 deaths were caused by cancer in our country. Being overweight and obesity were associated with esophagus, colorectal kidney, breast, and cervical cancers. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may prevent many cancer types. Maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly decreases cancer risk significantly. Moreover, living a healthy lifestyle helps prevent not only cancers but also other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetics, which cause death globally. Our life choices are important in terms of preventing cancer. What our country needs primarily is health professionals and well-educated health defenders who would take the lead in healthy lifestyle, and provide health services. We, the faculty of Medical School at Izmir University of Economics, based our instruction program to facilitate producing graduates with these attributes”.