Unfortunate reality of rise in Cancer incidence

Half a century ago a person was far more likely to die from heart disease. Now cancer is on the verge of overtaking it as the No. 1 cause of death.

I am frequently asked why so many people these days are being diagnosed with cancer?

So …what could account for the rise in cancer cases? While human genes haven’t changed drastically over recent years, conditions in and around them have shifted. Lifestyle factors like diet and bad habits certainly play a role in our cellular health, as our life expectancy and the job we do. The rates of many chronic diseases have fallen in the past decades, but cancer is not behaving in the same fashion for a few reasons. When coming to cancer, one fact is very clear the older we get the higher is our risk; the longer we live, the more time we have for errors to build up. And so, as time passes, our risk of developing cancer goes up as we accumulate more of these faults in our genes. While tools for cancer diagnosis and treatment have improved, lifestyle has gone in the other direction. Poor lifestyle and sedentary habits have become the norm, which makes people overweight or obese increasing the risk of cancer. It has been estimated that over half a million cancers worldwide can be directly linked to obesity and inactivity every year. Obesity is tied to number of cancers including Breast, Colon, Oesophagus, Pancreatic, Endometrial, Kidney and Thyroid. In fact obesity threatens to overtake smoking as a number one risk factor for cancer. Other lifestyles like a diet that is high in red meats (such as beef, pork, lamb, or liver) and processed meats (such as hot dogs and some luncheon meats) can raise our risk of colorectal cancer .Drinking more alcohol, more regularly ups our risk for Breast, mouth, oesophageal and colon cancer. Sun bathing increases risk of skin cancer. On the other hand changing reproductive habits could explain why rates of breast ovarian and some other reproductive cancer haven’t fallen much despite introduction of HPV vaccine and more conscientious screening. How we choose to feed and protect our body can go far to reducing our risk of invasive cancer, most notably skin and colon cancer.

Cancer is currently more common in men than women, but due to changes in lifestyle women are catching up fast. It’s clear that unless progress is made in tackling obesity and other preventable causes of cancer, more people of both sexes will be diagnosed with the disease every year. We can all take the initiative in reducing our chance of getting cancer by eating more healthily, drinking less and doing more exercise.

Facing cancer was never easy, but you can take some comfort in that, prognosis has never been better than it is today. Like many life threatening medical conditions, early diagnosis can increase your likely hood of beating the disease and living a long life.

Thankfully in this day and age, receiving a cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.

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Human body is made of millions of cells coming together to form different systems and performing various functions in our body. Thus in every human being cells grow and divide to form new cells. This way the older damaged cells die and new healthy cells take their place. This cycle of cell formation and destruction ensures proper function of every system in our body.

In Cancer some of the body cells begin to divide when they are not needed and some cells survive and remain in the body when they should die. This causes break down of the orderly cycle of cell formation resulting in unwanted multiplication of cells. Thus the beginning of this disease occurs with abnormal cell division and hence prevention should aim at avoiding or restricting the same.

Since cells play a major role in pathophysiology of this disease, maintaining healthy cells in our body is a way which can help us to overcome their ability of dividing abnormally.

Healthier the cells, lesser are their chances of starting abnormal division.

In an event of uncontrolled cell division these healthier cells can themselves take over the abnormally dividing cells and stop the disease process right away.

A balance diet, good physical activity like exercise, yoga etc., breathing exercises like pranayama & positive attitude in life can certainly help us nourish our body cells.

Avoiding excess exposure to harmful radiations emitted by cell phones, Wi-Fi stations etc., excess consumption of hybridized food and exposure to harmful chemicals in the form of herbicides, chemical cleansers, toxic cosmetics etc. are certain ways we can adopt to maintain the health of our body cells.

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In India, cancer of the Ovary constitutes nearly 7 percent of all female-cancers. A large part of the Ovarian Cancer can be prevented, no doubt. So let us discuss how to protect ourselves from this silent cancer.


Types of Ovarian Cancers:


1) Epithelial Tumours- about 90 percent


2) Stromal Tumours- about 7 percent


3) Germ cell Tumours- very little


It is important to note that we can prevent only the ovarian cancers of epithelial origin.


Signs and Symptoms:


1) Pain in the abdomen and pelvis.

2) Bloating and pressure in the abdomen.

3) Urination frequently.

4) Abdominal fullness after eating even small quantity of foods.

5) Swelling of abdomen

6) Abnormal bleeding per vagina.


Other symptoms are:

1) Indigestion

2) Heartburn

3) Fatigue

4) Pain in the back

5) Irregularities in menstruation

6) Constipation

7) Pain during intercourse


These symptoms may occur in some other diseases also. So, if the symptoms persist, you are to contact with your house-physicians.


Risks of having Ovarian Cancer:

If you be aware of the risks of getting Ovarian Cancer, then you can take decisions of what to do and how you and your family members can protect yourselves from Cancer of Ovary. The risks are as follows:

1) A family history of Cancer of Ovary or Breast.

2) A personal history of Breast, Uterus and Colon Cancer.

3) If you have mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (in this case the risk of Ovarian Cancer is 6 times more than that of general population).

4) Obesity.

5) Use of fertility drugs.

6) Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

7) Endometriosis

8) No history of pregnancy.

9) Using talcum powder between the thighs and genitalia.

10) Diabetes

11) Older Age


How to lower your Risk of Ovarian Cancer:


1) Giving birth to a baby will reduce the risk of Ovarian Cancer.

2) If you have gone for tubal ligation, then you have lowered the risk of developing Ovarian Cancer.

3) Longer a woman is taking the birth control pills, more she is protected against the Cancer of Ovary almost upto 30-60 percent. Nevertheless it should be kept in mind the other side also that birth control pills may slightly increase the risk of Breast Cancer.

4) Breast feeding to baby lowers the risk.

5) If a woman is genetically in high risk of getting Ovarian Cancer, then preventive surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes may be considered. This surgery is known as salpingo-oophorectomy. If the woman is post-menopausal, then this surgery will reduce the risk of Ovarian Cancer by 85-90 percent.

Other modes of Prevention:

A) Exercise:
Exercise in the forms of walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, cycling, domestic works etc. will reduce the risk of Ovarian Cancer.

B) Foods which can prevent Ovarian Cancer:

1) Endive: It can reduce the risk of Ovarian Cancer by about 75 percent, it contains anticancer agent known as Kaempferol (also found in Spinach, Kale, Broccoli). Kaemferol is also an anti-angiogenic agent.

2) Onion: Contains anticancer agent like apigenin, anthocyanin, myricetin, quercetin. Red onions are 60 percent more anti-cancerous than yellow or white onions. Take raw onions, because boiling will reduce the anticancer property by 30 percent.

3) Tomato: Contains anticancer agent Lycopene which can reduce the risk of Ovarian Cancer by 60 percent.

4) Fish: Contains anticancer agent Omega-3 fatty acids which can lower the risk of Ovarian Cancer by 30 percent.

5) Low fat consumption.

6) High fibre diet.

7) Reduce meat and alcohol consumption.

8) Other fruits and vegetables having antioxidants.


Ovarian Cancer is usually a cancer of the older women and is more common in women of Western Countries than Indian women. Still Ovarian Cancer is slightly on the rise in India. So, we should follow all the preventive measures immediately to combat this cancer.

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“Cancer” – Since years this disease has threatened mankind and it’s increasing evidence in population has further added to the fear about this disease in people’s mind.

During our seminars we come across patients who have been taking conventional treatments for Cancer from renowned hospitals since years but when it is asked to them that what do they know about the disease, the answer is – “ I have Cancer and it leads to death…”.

This is the only definition of Cancer most of the people have. Unfortunately the scenario remains same even for the urban population. This fear of death is inseparably associated with cancer and hence most of the people when they come to know that they are having cancer, just give up instead of fighting against it. Fear comes from ignorance & knowledge is the only tool to overcome it. It is very essential to have correct knowledge of the disease you are suffering as only then you can win over it.

Cancer is curable now and it doesn’t necessarily lead to death is the truth we all should propagate amongst the masses. Patients should be thoroughly educated about disease pathology, its risk factors, correct line of treatment to be adopted, diet to be followed, hygiene to be maintained, precautions to be taken during and after the treatment, etc. Treated patients must know about the lifestyle modifications they should adopt to avoid recurrence of disease.

Moreover there are various myths in people’s mind about Cancer like; cancer is a communicable disease, it is caused by virus or bacteria and it produces germs in patient’s body, cancer and tumor are the same entities, there is no treatment available for last stage cancer etc. All these are false beliefs and it’s a high time we should eradicate such myths right away from the society.

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