Authored by Dr S Rajasundaram, Director – Institute of oncology, Gleneagels Global Health City
Key cancer Facts:
6 millionPeople die from cancer every year.
At least one thirdof common cancers are preventable.
Cancer is the second-leadingcause of death worldwide.
70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.
Up to 7 million livescould be saved each year by implementing resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment.
Causes of cancer
One third of the cancers can be prevented by reducing behavioural and dietary risks.
Modifiable risk factors include:
Being overweight or obese
Diet and nutrition
Tobacco– Tobacco smoke contains at least 80 different cancer-causing substances & leads to mouth & lung cancer mostly. Currently tobacco use is responsible for around 22% of cancer deaths.
Infection– Infectious agents are responsible for around 2.2 million cancer deaths annually. Around 70% of cervical cancers are caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV) while liver cancer and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma can be caused by the Hepatitis B and C virus and lymphomas are linked to the Epstein-Barr virus
Non-modifiable risk factors include:
Hereditary – Accounts for around 5 to 10 % of cancers only
Weakened immune system
Cancer prevention Tips:
1. Don’t use tobacco
2. Eat a healthy diet
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation
Limit processed meats
Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine
Avoid over exposure to the sun
5. Get vaccinated:
Human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine is recommended for all girls at ages 11 and 12.
7. Get regular medical care
Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.
The Growing problem of Breast Cancer in India:
As of 2017, breast cancer prevalence rate has increased to 25.8 women per 100000 women in India
With around 3,50,000 women suffering from breast cancer, It is now the no.1 cancer in Indian women
Only 5% of breast cancers are hereditary
In India, breast cancer occurs atleast a decade earlier than the western world
Almost 45-50 % of patients in India present in the advanced stages (Stage 3 and 4)
All women above 40 years of age should undergo annual screening with a Full Field Digital Mammogram
Early detection can not only improve the outcome but can drastically reduce the costs of treatment.