According to the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, the number of patients being diagnosed with cancer has skyrocketed in the country, with an estimated number of around 2.25 million people, at present, living with the disease. Each year, there are more than 11 lakh new cases, while each day over 1,200 people die due to the disease. The risk of developing cancer before the age of 75 years stands at 9.81% for males, and at 9.42% for females.
The subsequent risk of dying from the disease is 7.34% and 6.28% for males and females respectively. While cancers of oral cavity and lungs are responsible for more than 25% of cancer deaths in males, breast and oral cavity cancers cause over 25% deaths in females. Medical experts, however, say that more than 47% cases of cancer – both in men and women – can be prevented and treated at an early stage, thus reducing the total number of cancer deaths in the country.
Lifestyle factors responsible for causing cancer:
Medical experts are unanimous in their opinion that merely 5-10% of the cancer cases are attributed to genes. Up to 90% of the cases are because of environmental and lifestyle reasons. Here is a list of the top lifestyle factors responsible for causing cancer:
- Cigarette smoking
- Tobacco consumption
- Alcohol consumption
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Sun exposure
- Exposure to environmental pollution
- Dietary habits, like excess consumption of red meat
Steps required to prevent incidents of cancer:
Though hereditary factors cannot be modified, individuals can modify their lifestyle to prevent incidents of cancer. While 90% of the lung cancer cases are attributed to smoking, around 4% of the oral cancer cases are because of smokeless tobacco. Tobacco contains 50 carcinogens, and is responsible for high cancer mortality rates. Cessation of tobacco consumption, as part of lifestyle changes, can go a long way in prevention of the incidents of cancer.
Similarly, chronic consumption of alcohol is a risk factor for cancers of oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, liver, pancreas, mouth and breast. According to medical experts, alcohol consumption causes change in metabolism, production of free radicals and other processes activating carcinogenesis (presence of cancer cells) in the body. Minimum consumption of alcohol can prevent incidents of cancer.
Diet also contributes to prostate, bladder, gastric, oral, gastrointestinal, pancreatic and oral cancers. The powerful carcinogens in red meat along with saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids present in refined foods contribute to various types of cancer. Thus, having a diet free from red meat and refined food can also help prevent cancer. A balanced diet can also help prevent obesity – a risk factor for several types of cancers, like pancreas, prostate, gallbladder and liver. According to medical experts, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and spices along with caloric restriction and exercise can prevent obesity and cancer-related risks.
Avoiding direct exposure to sunlight along with living in a cleaner environment can prevent infection and environmental pollution-related cancers. Alongside, medical experts also suggest adhering to a regular vaccination programme. For example, women can take preventive measures against cervical cancer by taking Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV).
Prevention of cancer – Early detection and treatment –
Along with modifying lifestyle habits, medical experts also underline the importance of early detection and treatment in preventing cancer-related deaths. Experts recommend regular check-up programmes for men and women above the age of 50. Chest scan, colonoscopy and Serum PSA examination are among the recommended regular tests. Experts also advise against ignoring the early symptoms of cancer, like unhealed sores in the mouth, muscle spasms, back pain, indigestion, bloating etc.
Thus, lifestyle factors are responsible for a vast majority of cancer cases in India, and lifestyle modifications are required to prevent incidents of cancer. Along with the changes, regular medical check-ups are vital. Now you can get access to state-of-the-art medical facilities across 270 hospitals in 1,000 cities through the Bajaj Finserv EMI Network Card. This Health EMI Network Card is Bajaj health & wellness card that helps you convert the cost of your services into easy EMIs. The Bajaj Finserv Health EMI Network Card comes with a pre-approved loan of up to Rs 4 lakh. Other Bajaj health card benefits include flexible repayment options – ranging from 3 months to 18 months – and one-time submission of documents.