An unhealthy diet is the root cause of diseases like cancer: HCFI

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

Physical activity and eating healthy are the cornerstones to good health

New Delhi, 3rd June 2019: More than 80,000 cancer cases in some parts of the world are linked to a poor diet, according to a study published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum. The findings are comparable to the number of cancer cases linked to alcohol consumption, which amount to between 4 and 6%. Excessive body weight is linked to 7% to 8% of cases and lack of physical activity is associated with 2% to 3%. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the importance of a healthy diet in preventing cancer.

Of all types of cancers, colorectal cancer had the highest link to poor diet. Apart from putting government-sponsored warning labels on red meats and other cancer-linked foods, there is also a need for nutrition policies to address the cancer burden.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “What we eat has a huge impact on our body. It can either aid our health and well-being or lead to diseases such as cancer. It is imperative that our diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to ward off potential health issues. The prevalence of cancer in our country is not uniform all over. There is a difference in the types of cancer that affect people in rural and urban settings. We have seen that in rural women, cervical cancer is the most widespread while in urban women, breast cancer is 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. Identifying the underlying cause and taking preventive action at the earliest is a must.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief, 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: immunization, 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 by 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.

Preventive measures imperative in averting cancer and other lifestyle diseases: HCFI

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

People with a family history of cancer should be more careful

New Delhi, 13th May 2019: Between 2018 and 2040, the number of patients requiring first-course chemotherapy annually will increase from 9.8 million to 15 million, as per estimates. A study published in The Lancet, Oncology indicates that a steady growth curve of patients (eligible for chemotherapy) will be seen in low and middle income countries going from 63% in 2018 to 67% in 2040.

Statistics also indicate that the cancer burden in India has more than doubled over the last 26 years. Cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, and lung together constitute 41 per cent of the disease burden in the country. The need of the hour is to create awareness on the importance of prevention.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The prevalence of cancer in our country is not uniform. There is a difference in the types of cancer that affect people basis rural and urban settings. In rural women, cervical cancer is the most widespread while in urban women, breast cancer is the most rampant. Men in the rural areas are majorly affected by cancers of the oral cavity while those in the urban areas are affected 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. At an individual level, it is important to take preventive action at the earliest.”

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

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, 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 that cannot be controlled such as age and family history. Lifestyle choices that increase your chances of contracting cancer include 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.

Some tips from HCFI

  • 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.

Treat dental infections and badly aligned teeth to prevent oral cancer: HCFI

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

Non-smokers with poor oral hygiene have an equal risk of acquiring the condition

New Delhi, 11th May 2019: Statistics indicate that dental causative factors for mouth cancers are seen in about 4% to 5% oral cancer cases. While tobacco chewing and smoking remain the main cause of oral cancers, bad dental hygiene with sharp or broken teeth that irritate the internal area of the mouth are among the causes of mouth cancers in people who do not smoke or chew tobacco. The continuous chronic irritation of the skin inside the mouth or the tongue caused by such teeth may trigger cancer.

Estimates indicate that lip and oral cancer cases in India have more than doubled in the last six years. It is imperative to attend to bad dental hygiene, broken, sharp or irregularly aligned teeth immediately to prevent the condition.

Speaking about Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Use of tobacco can cause oral precancerous lesions such as oral submucous fibrosis, which can put the user at risk of developing oral cancer. Apart from this it can also predispose the user to other infections in the mouth. In India, the use of smokeless tobacco (SLT) remains the dominant cause of tobacco-attributable diseases, including cancer of the oral cavity (mouth), esophagus (food pipe) and pancreas. SLT not only causes adverse health effects but also accounts for a huge economic burden.”

Some other risk factors for oral cancer include a weakened immune system, a family history of oral or other types of cancer, being male, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, prolonged sun exposure, age, poor oral hygiene, poor diet or nutrition, etc.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Use of SLT mixed with areca nut is a common practice in India and as stated in the beginning, betel quid and gutka, the two most commonly used forms of SLT have areca nut as a common ingredient. Areca nut itself is classified as a class one carcinogenic, that is, having cancer-causing properties, besides other adverse health effects.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Do not use tobacco. If you are a user, take immediate steps to quit.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun – use lip balms with SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, while avoiding or limiting the intake of junk and processed food.
  • Try short-acting nicotine replacement therapy as things such as lozenges, nicotine gums, etc.
  • Identify the trigger situation, which makes you smoke. Have a plan in place to avoid these or get through them alternatively.
  • Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds instead of tobacco.
  • Get physically active. Short bursts of physical activity such as running up and down the stairs a few times can make a tobacco craving go away.

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