Cancer prevention must begin in pregnancy and childhood

Cancer prevention must begin in pregnancy and childhood

Cancer prevention must begin in pregnancy and childhood

By Amy & Ashley Choi

Cancer prevention can begin in pregnancy and early childhood stages to reduce the risk of cancer for both the mother and baby. This is especially important with maternal and child cancer mortality rates being particularly high in developing countries. In fact, cancer is the third leading cause of death in children under 15 years old and the second leading cause of death in women of reproductive age.  Cancer can be cured if detected early enough, but unfortunately this is not often the case in developing countries where there is a limited access to health facilities and medical equipment.

Nutrition and childhood cancer survival

Nutrition is one of the most important factors in cancer prevention. Proper nutrition intake can help reduce the risk of cancer as well as help recover from cancer in both children and adults. Studies from Cancer Council have shown that a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low in sugar and processed foods can help protect against cancer. In particular, getting enough folic acid (natural form of vitamin B9, water-soluble.) is important in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function. Folic acid can be consumed through leafy vegetables, most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, and enriched grain foods such as cereal, bread, pasta and rice. It is pertinent for children to consume the correct proportions of fruits, vegetables and carbon. CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) mentions that Two servings of fruit per day is the suggested minimum for kids (About half a cup is considered one serving of fruit). Children between the ages of 1 and 18 should consume 45% and 65% of their calories as carbs.

Statistics from CDC has mentioned that exercising is very important for children especially when they are young.  Exercising helps children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as: Heart disease, Cancer etc. Exercising plays a huge role in our lifestyle, we should take it seriously and start regularly exercising for a better future!

Reducing Harmful Exposures

For an individual’s short and long-term health results, good nutrition during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence is critical. Living a healthy lifestyle is pertinent in cancer prevention. For children, these include:

  • Avoiding alcoholand tobacco use especially during pregnancy
  • Avoiding exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as asbestos, nickel, cadmium, radon, vinyl chloride, benzidene, and benzene
  • Limiting the amount of radiationused during certain medical tests, like CT scans
  • Keeping children away from secondhand smoke.
  • Getting enough physical activity during their childhood years


Amy & Ashley are regular guest contributors to Kodi's Paw-a-thon blog.
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