One third of cancer patients in high-income countries are smokers
Recent research indicates that more than 50% of cancers can be prevented if people simply change their lifestyle. Every year nearly one million new cancer cases are diagnosed in India, the prevalence being 2.5 million. With mortalities of 6,00,000-7,00,000 a year, cancer causes six per cent of all adult deaths in the country.
One of the leading causes of cancer in the world and India is tobacco consumption accounting for about 40 per cent of all cancers in India. About 275 million Indians (35 per cent of adult population and 14.1 per cent of children aged 13-15 years) are tobacco users.
Being overweight or obese causes approximately 20% of cancers across the globe today. If people could maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI), the incidence of cancer could be reduced by approximately 50% in 2 to 20 years.
Poor diet and lack of exercise are each associated with about 5% of all cancers. Improvement in diet could reduce cancer incidence by 50% and increases in physical activity could reduce cancer incidence by as much as 85% in 5 to 20 years.
Eradicating the main viruses associated with cancer worldwide by implementing widespread infant and childhood immunization programs targeting three viruses — human papillomavirus and hepatitis B and C — could lead to a 100% reduction in viral-related cancer incidence in 20 to 40 years.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. A Marthanda Pillai – National President and Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K K Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement said, “The number of deaths due to cancer in our country continues to increase due to lifestyle irregularities. Urgent steps must be taken to raise awareness about the ill effects of tobacco consumption, obesity, increased harm caused by exposure to harmful radiation emitted from mobile phones and other electronic gadgets as well as the result of ozone layer depletion. People must also be encouraged to make changes in their lifestyle as a step towards cancer prevention. They can do this by quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, eating a healthy and balanced diet and exercising regularly. The government must also take adequate steps towards reducing the environmental pollution as well as enforcing stricter laws against smoking in public places."
It has also been found that:
· Tamoxifen reduces the rate of both invasive and noninvasive breast cancer by 50% or more, compared with placebo, at 5 years. Raloxifene has been shown to reduce the risk for invasive breast cancer by about 50% at 5 years.
· Bilateral oophorectomy in women carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, although rare, has been associated with a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk among high-risk women.
· Aspirin is associated with a 40% reduction in mortality from colon cancer.
· Screening for colorectal cancer has a similar magnitude of mortality reduction (30% to 40%).
Prevention is always better than cure and awareness generation is the first step in this direction