Cancer is very much a preventable condition

1:37 pm Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Social Health Community

Being aware of the symptoms and making lifestyle changes is imperative

New Delhi, 03 January 2018: A recent study has indicated that cancer cells alter the body clock to boost tumor growth and survive conditions that would kill normal cells. Cancer cells need to make larger than normal amounts of nucleic acids and protein to replicate and for the tumor to grow and spread. Cancer cells have developed the capability to use the unfolded protein response (UPR) to slow protein synthesis when needed, to handle the backlog of misfolded proteins. This helps them survive in conditions that would kill normal cells, found the study.

There are about 2.5 million people living with cancer in India and over 7 lakh new cases get registered every year. Of all the various types of cancer, those of the oral cavity and lungs in males and cervix and breast in females account for about 50% of all related deaths in the country.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “The prevalence of cancer in our country is not uniform all over. There is a difference in the types of cancer that affect people basis rural and urban settings. We have seen that in rural women, cervical cancer is the most widespread while in urban women, breast cancer is the most rampant. In case of men, rural people are majorly affected by cancers of the oral cavity while rural men are greatly inflicted by cancer of the lung. Although cancer has become an epidemic with a steep rise in its incidence, the irony is that cancer medicines are very expensive and beyond the reach of a common man. Thus, price control is very necessary to provide people with affordable cancer medicines. The government should also take adequate steps to ensure early diagnosis of cancer because it is a proven fact that early diagnosis can save many lives.”

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases that are caused when a group of abnormal cells begins to grow uncontrollably, often forming a tumor. Tumors can either be benign or malignant.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, Vice President CMAAO, said, “Although the exact cause of cancer is not known, research indicates that certain risk factors may increase a person’s chances of developing cancer. These include things people cannot control, like age and family history. Lifestyle choices that increase your chances of contracting breast cancer are the usual suspects such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and poor diet.”

There are four major types of clinical preventive care: immunizations, screening, behavioral counseling (lifestyle changes), and chemoprevention. Screening is the identification of an asymptomatic disease, unhealthy condition, or risk factor. Primary prevention are interventions to keep disease from occurring (eg, immunization for communicable disease); secondary prevention as detection of early asymptomatic disease (eg, screening); and tertiary prevention as reducing complications of disease (eg, eye examinations in patients with diabetes). This nomenclature is applied differently by some other disciplines.

Here are some ways in which one can diagnose and prevent the onset of this condition at an early stage.

  • Pay attention to symptoms and get yourself checked regularly.
  • Using any type of tobacco puts a person at an increased risk of cancer. Avoiding or stopping the consumption of tobacco is one of the foremost steps in cancer prevention.
  • Filter tap water properly as this can reduce your exposure to possible carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • Get vaccinated on time and as per schedule. For example, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer.
  • Drinking plenty of water and other liquids can help in reducing the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to flush them through the bladder faster.
  • Most importantly, make lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can help ward off diseases.

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