PSY 352 Topic 5 Discussion Question 2: 

PSY 352 Topic 5 Discussion Question 2: 


Physical fitness, healthful diets and avoiding heavy consumption of alcohol can reduce the risks of developing cancer. Cancer is generally preceded by a series of genetic changes within cells that over time result in uncontrolled growth and spread. Sometimes lifestyle choices can help prevent these changes from occurring in the first place. Physical exercise strengthens muscles and bones and promotes weight loss, which reduces the amount of estrogen in the body. Some studies suggest a link between excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, and breast cancer. The healthier you are, the more likely it is that your body can fight off cell mutations.

It is now estimated that one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. What was once a disease usually associated with the elderly is becoming more common amongst younger people. This can be attributed to lifestyle choices, such as diets high in processed foods, insufficient vitamin intake and exposure to carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals.

Research has shown that as much as 40% of human behavior is influenced by genetics. Studies also show that genes interact with the environment and lifestyle choices to influence a person’s predisposition to cancer. For example, studies have shown that women who eat a healthy diet and don’t smoke cigarettes are less likely to develop breast cancer than other women. But scientists don’t know exactly what combination of genes, lifestyle, and environment causes someone to be more likely than another person to develop cancer. Whatever the combination, researchers are increasing their efforts to understand it. So far, they have identified around twenty genes that seem to be associated with an increased risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. They think the results may someday help doctors diagnose and treat cancer earlier, when it’s easier to treat and cure.

While genetics plays a major role in the development of cancer, lifestyle choices—including smoking, diet and exercise habits, exposure to the sun, and environmental factors—are also important. Diet, in particular, has been strongly linked to development of stomach, colon, and prostate cancers. According to reports from the US Department of Agriculture and other health organizations throughout the world, most diets are deficient in key nutrients (especially vitamins A and C), have excessive sodium content, and have too little fiber. Nearly half of all cancers could be prevented by maintaining a healthy body weight; regular physical activity; limiting consumption of red meats; and avoiding exposure to potential carcinogens such as pesticides and tobacco smoke. Adopting a diet low in fat and high in fresh fruits and vegetables can play an important role in reducing risk of cancer.

Over the past two decades, a striking pattern has emerged. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for developing cancer. This is true not only of colorectal cancer, but also of cancers of the prostate gland, pancreas, and breast in men. Weight loss can prevent these cancers and the risk increases with each 10 lbs. lost.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle



Discuss how lifestyle choices can be associated with cancer. Are there ways to prevent this predisposition? Why or why not?

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