Cancer: What diet can protect against it?

Cancer: What diet can protect against it?

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Prevention: balanced diet against cancer

Scientists believe that around 40 percent of all cancer cases that are newly diagnosed each year could be avoided by a healthier lifestyle. According to the experts, a balanced diet, normal weight and the lowest possible consumption of alcoholic beverages reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Around half a million people in Germany contract cancer each year. According to health experts, a large part of the illnesses could be avoided by a healthy lifestyle. The German Cancer Aid and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) inform the population as part of the 1st National Cancer Prevention Week about risk factors that everyone can influence themselves.

Hundreds of thousands could be spared the diagnosis of cancer

As the German Cancer Aid and the DKFZ write in a message, around 500,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Germany alone. Cancer always arises when random errors in the genetic makeup of a cell accumulate in the course of life and this cell is not destroyed by the body, but begins to multiply uncontrollably.

In around 40 percent of all new cases, this process is also caused by factors that can be influenced. This was also shown by a study by British scientists who concluded that around four out of ten cancer cases could have been prevented by a healthier lifestyle. Factors that can be influenced include an unhealthy diet, obesity, regular alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and tobacco consumption.

And even if a health-conscious lifestyle and avoiding cancer risk factors are not a guarantee, in principle up to 200,000 people in Germany could be spared the diagnosis of cancer every year. "Prevention is doable, Mr. Neighbor! Active Against Cancer ”is the motto of the 1st National Cancer Prevention Week from 10th to 13th September 2019, which was initiated by the DKFZ and the German Cancer Aid. The two organizations also offer a free prevention leaflet with 10 tips for a healthy life.

10 tips for a healthy life

The ten tips for a healthy life are:

Move a lot
Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Even small changes in everyday life are good: ride a bike or go on foot more often; take the stairs instead of the elevator. Interrupt sedentary activities with small aisles.

Pay attention to your body weight
If you are overweight, reduce your weight - and keep on gaining.

Eat healthy
Frequently eat whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Avoid high-calorie foods that are high in sugar and fat. Prepare your meals fresh, preferably from regional, seasonal ingredients. Keep the proportion of red meat (beef, pork, lamb) low and avoid processed meat products.

Little alcohol
Basically, drink little alcohol - and not every day. Choose soft drinks more often. Avoiding alcohol altogether is even better to reduce your risk of cancer.

Smoke free
Do not smoke and do not use tobacco. Ensure a smoke-free home and support smoke-free work.

UV protection
When you go out in the sun, make sure you have adequate protection with shadows, clothing and sunscreen. Wear sunglasses with UV protection and headgear. Avoid the midday sun, especially in summer, and protect your children. Do not go to the solarium.

Avoid carcinogenic substances
Tobacco smoke is an "indoor poison". Therefore, in addition to the apartment, also explain the car to the smoke-free zone - especially if children are traveling. If you come into contact with carcinogenic substances at your workplace, you must follow the applicable safety regulations, such as wearing protective equipment.

Breastfeeding - avoid hormone therapy
Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer in mothers. Therefore, if possible, breastfeed your child. Hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms may increase the risk of breast cancer if used for a long time. Talk to your doctor about this.

Vaccinations for children
Hepatitis B vaccination for newborns can reduce the risk of liver cancer. Vaccination against human papilloma viruses for girls and boys lowers the risk of cervical cancer, but also, for example, penis, throat and anal cancer.

Early detection information
The aim of statutory cancer screening is to detect cancer at the earliest possible stage. These can then usually be treated more gently and successfully than in late stages. Find out about the examinations and decide whether you want to participate.

Balanced food

The DKFZ and the German Cancer Aid also draw attention to the European Code to combat cancer. He recommends a balanced diet that is rich in plant-based foods and low in highly processed, high-calorie finished products.

  • Frequently eat whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Rarely eat high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar foods.
  • Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid processed meat.
  • Eat little red meat and high-salt foods.
  • Drink little and not daily alcohol.
  • Put emphasis on a healthy body weight.

Experts answer questions about cancer

What foods can promote or inhibit cancer? Are vegetarians less likely to develop tumors? What should we think of food supplements, sweeteners, etc.? Beer, wine, schnapps - what amounts increase the risk of cancer? The employees of the cancer information service KID and INFONETZ KREBS answer these and other questions about cancer. The KID can be reached by phone on 0800 - 420 30 40 daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and at [email protected] INFONETZ CANCER is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on 0800 - 80 70 88 77 and can be contacted at [email protected] (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • German Cancer Research Center: Active against cancer: What nutrition can protect ?, (accessed: 09/11/2019), German Cancer Research Center
  • German Cancer Aid: National Cancer Prevention Week, 10 tips for a healthy life, (accessed: 09/11/2019), German Cancer Aid

Video: Colorectal Cancer: Healthy Diet To Prevent Cancer (May 2022).


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