Only 12.5% of those with cancer avail treatment at an early stage of the disease

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

India is witnessing a steep rise in cancer cases, majority of which are due to lifestyle factors

New Delhi, 15 October 2018: Recent research suggests that there has been an increase in the incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) and skin cancer among locals in the Ladakh region of India. The high altitude, exposure to excessive ultraviolet (UV) rays, lack of oxygen, and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the causes attributed to the increase. The rise in GI cancer is mostly due to the unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle which includes consumption of stored meat and hot beverages.

GI cancer is more common in men over the age of 40. Women who have undergone menopause are also prone to it. What adds to the burden is that fact that people are not aware of the early symptoms of this condition especially in Ladakh. There is also a lack of access to cancer treatment and proper drugs to combat GI cancer.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Cancer cases in India are rising not just because of better diagnostic facilities but also owing to the shift in the way we lead our lives. About one-third of cancer deaths are related to 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks namely tobacco, high BMI, low fruit and vegetable consumption, lack of physical activity, and alcohol use. Creating awareness becomes especially important as only 12.5% of patients come for treatment in early stages of the disease. 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.”

The theme for the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela 2018 this year is Affordable Healthcare. As a part of the event, the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) also launched a campaign on ‘Make in India for Cure in India’.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Make in India is imperative for Cure in India and it must be promoted to ensure that no one lacks access to timely treatment. This covers medical devices as well. The aim is to achieve the overall goal of affordable health care for all by making all critical and lifesaving medical devices available and accessible at affordable prices.”

Some prevention tips from HCFI.

Here are some lifestyle changes one can make to prevent cancer.

  • Avoid using tobacco in any form: Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney. Chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas.
  • Consume a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is important to prevent the risk of cancer.
  • Maintain a healthy weight This can lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney. Physical activity every day is important to not just reduce weight but also keep fit.
  • Avoid risky habits: Habits such as unsafe sex and sharing needles can lead to infections that, in turn, might increase the risk of cancer.