How to Live to 110, a guide for all ages on how to stay healthy and live a long life.

Your comprehensive guide to a healthy life

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How to protect against cancer

How our cells turn dangerous

(Avoiding cancers)

To keep your body working at its best, it has a sort of ‘planned maintenance’ so that older cells die off and are replaced before they wear out and cause problems. Every second of your life, millions of your cells die in an ordered way and new ones take their place. You are probably aware of this happening in your skin, but the same process happens to virtually every other cell too.

Very occasionally a single cell can be altered – perhaps by chemicals, infections, radiation or even sunlight – so that it won’t die when it is supposed to. When this cell forms new cells, they too won’t die. Nor will the cells they create... nor the ones these create in their turn. This is essentially what cancer is.

How cancer develops

At first the cancer may be localised to a few cells, and sometimes it never spreads beyond this stage. But sometimes the number of cells just keeps doubling. Even if your body’s defences manage to kill a few of these cells, it’s not too long before there’s a sizeable cancer. It’s made worse by any local inflammation, and even by your body unwittingly creating new blood vessels that feed the cancer.

If a cancer is detected early when it’s still in one place, there’s a good chance it can be removed.

But once it gets larger and starts to invade the surrounding area and gets into the blood and lymph vessels it spreads widely and can cause damage around the body. Unfortunately, cancers often don’t cause symptoms until they are big enough to press on nearby structures, or have spread to critical parts of the body.

Some of the things you can do

Tobacco smoke is particularly bad. The cancer-causing chemicals it contains are carried around the whole body. Smokers suffer higher levels of all types of cancer.

Follow safety instructions to avoid contact with harmful substances and chemicals.

Cover up in strong sunlight, and use sunscreen.

Try to avoid radiation, such as unnecessary x-rays.

Girls should be immunised against HPV, a virus that can cause cervical cancer.

Keep physically active. This seems to protect against cancer in general.

It’s vital that cancer is detected early. If you experience unexplained symptoms, see a doctor. There are screening programmes available for some people, e.g. for breast cancer.

What the book covers

As well as explaining cancer in more depth, the book lists steps to take so you are less likely to get any form of cancer.

It then discusses each of the main types of cancer – lung cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer etc – in turn, suggesting


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Selected references for the book




How to Live to 110: Longevity, living longer and the steps to take for a healthy old age