Columnists Features

Ways to prevent cancer

CANCER is a terrible illness which has become very common in today’s Zambia.  So there was recently much celebration when the First Lady opened a new and very costly facility in Lusaka for cancer treatment.
We should all be anxious about this terrible disease. I, myself, am not a doctor; just a concerned citizen. But one needs not to be a doctor to know how to avoid becoming a victim of cancer.
Anyone who takes the trouble to acquire the necessary knowledge can easily become an expert in this neglected area. Most of us know the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’.
With regard to cancer, prevention is very much better than the medical treatments used in order to cure the disease; especially that treatment usually involves much pain and expense, and yet fails to succeed.
Attempts at prevention can, of course, also fail. But the success rate with preventing cancer, if the measures are taken with care, is extremely high.  Moreover, the cost is often negligible, and may well be less than the normal day-to-day costs of living.
For the sake of simplicity, and also because I lack the knowledge to enter into more complex matters, this short article will be restricted to three aspects of cancer prevention, which concern food and drink, sunshine and oxygen.
Let us start by considering food and drink. Most of us eat and drink what tastes good to us, regardless of the likely effects on our health. But that attitude is dangerous, for what we eat and drink has big effects on our health.
First, sweet things encourage cancer. Why? Because cancer cells feed on sugar.  So any intake of sugar, or of food or drink containing sugar, gives cancer a go-ahead. ‘Soft’ drinks are especially dangerous, because they are full of sugar, as also are sweet tea and coffee. Carbohydrates are also cancer-friendly, so we should prefer those that are less highly processed, such as roller mealie meal instead of breakfast mealie meal, and brown bread instead of white bread.
On the other hand, protection against cancer can be obtained from eating fruits and vegetables, especially if they are raw or just lightly cooked, since cooking reduces food value.
Most valuable for protection against cancer are ‘cruciferous’ vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and especially Brussels sprouts, all of which give outstanding protection.
Foods containing fats are also beneficial – avocados being highly recommended. Such foods should not be confused with fatty processed foods which can cause obesity, which tends to encourage cancer.
Fasting, which has a place in chemotherapy, can also be recommended. In addition, certain herbs are effective against cancer: for example, garlic and dried pawpaw seeds.
Vitamin D has an important place in cancer prevention. To obtain it, one needs not to involve taking tablets, since vitamin D comes from sunshine, of which we have plenty in Zambia. Of course, light-skinned people, who may be liable to skin cancer, have to beware of too much sunshine.
Even more beneficial than sunshine is oxygen, which is the great enemy of cancer.  This was discovered by the famous scientist, Otto Warburg, who in 1931 earned the Nobel Prize for demonstrating that the prime cause of all cancer is lack of oxygen.
So filling the body with oxygen provides complete protection against cancer. In fact, it is possible to do just that by the almost costless practice of taking a few drops of food grade hydrogen peroxide daily in water.
It will be seen from the foregoing that cancer – that great enemy of the human body – can easily be prevented, and the cost of doing so is minimal. The only requirements are some readily obtained knowledge and a bit of self-discipline.
The author is a retired Kitwe manufacturer, and recent past executive secretary of the Zambia Institute for Public Policy Analysis.

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