World Cancer Day: Doctors Reveal Early Disease Signs, Share Tips on How to Prevent It From Spreading

© AP Photo / Mahesh Kumar AA flash mob participants walk in front of a hoarding spreading awareness on cancer in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. World Cancer Day will be marked on Feb. 4.
A flash mob participants walk in front of a hoarding spreading awareness on cancer in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. World Cancer Day will be marked on Feb. 4. - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.02.2022
On 4 February, World Cancer Day is celebrated to raise awareness and bring together governments, medical experts, and individuals in a bid to improve cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. With the theme "Close the Care Gap" for World Cancer Day 2022-2024, this year's campaign is focused on identifying global disparities in cancer care.
Burdened with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the fight against cancer across the world has become all the more challenging due to increasingly late detection of the disease and lack of proper treatment.
Cancer has been recorded as one of the rising causes of death in the world, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020.
India’s National Cancer Registry Programme states that 800,000 new cancer cases are reported in the country every year.
At present, the projected number of patients with cancer in India is over 1.3 million and the common five leading types of cancers are breast, lung, mouth, cervix uteri, and tongue.
While different cancer types arise for different reasons, health experts cite changing environmental factors and lifestyle as the key reasons for the increase in cancer cases worldwide.

“Incidence of cancer is increasing due to sedentary lifestyle, consumption of processed and junk food and less physical activity. It is also rising due to increasing use of tobacco and alcohol by the people and changing reproductive practices,” Dr. Vineeta Goel, director and head of the Radiation Oncology Dept. at Delhi's Fortis Hospital, tells Sputnik.

What’s adding to the rising cancer cases, in developing countries, in particular, is late diagnoses, making it difficult for doctors to cure it, according to Dr. Goel.

New Challenges Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the fight against cancer, as it poses new challenges in its diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Prashant Mehta, a senior consultant, medical oncology, hematology, and head bone marrow transplant at Asian Hospital in Faridabad city, tells Sputnik that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant delay in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

"The COVID-19 has adversely impacted the treatment of cancer because of logistic factors, fear of contracting coronavirus, and travel restrictions," Dr. Mehta says. "The delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer has led to upstaging of the disease and poorer outcomes and reduced cure rates of treatment."

The need of the hour for the countries is to have a robust cost-effective and long-term strategy for the prevention and control of cancer.
Dr. Goel says due to the diagnosis of cancer at more advanced stages, there have been further delays in starting and completing treatment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Moreover, many patients are facing financial and social issues in completing their cancer treatments. Due to all these reasons, cancer cure has gone down in recent times," Dr. Goel says.

Early Diagnosis Through Self-Examination

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that between 30-50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable if detected at an early stage.
Dr. Mehta points out that self-examination of one’s body for any signs of cancer can be key to detecting cancer at an early stage.
He says symptoms like a lump or swelling anywhere in the body, bleeding from any orifice like blood in stool, an ulcer that is not healing, and persistent cough can be early signs of cancer.
"One can also check for a change in colour or appearance of a mole, change in bowel habit, change in voice or persistent hoarseness in voice, difficulty in swallowing, abdominal fullness, and persistent bloating,” Dr. Mehta says.
He also cautions people to watch out for any signs like post-menopausal bleeding, bleeding of the gums, excessive weight loss, persistent loss of appetite, anemia, low or high platelet count, and low or high white blood cell count.
Dr. Mehta suggests if any of such signs persist, one should immediately consult a doctor.

Healthy Lifestyle to Keep Cancer at Bay

Dr. Mehta shares that by living healthily, one can prevent 70 out of 100 cancer cases. Smoking is one habit he says people should kick.

"Moderate your alcohol intake or avoid alcohol. Avoid obesity, maintain a healthy body weight by being physically active and exercising. Being overweight can put people at risk as the more fat tissue there is, the higher the estrogen level in the body, potentially leading to the more rapid growth of estrogen-responsive tumors," Dr. Mehta adds.

Regular screening for cancer is also imperative. According to Dr. Goel, girls aged 9-15 years should be given vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer. "Women should undergo a periodic screening test especially for breast and cervical cancer. Similarly, men should undergo a periodic screening test for prostate and lung cancer,” he says.

Food to Fight Cancer

When suffering from cancer, what to eat and what not becomes a big challenge as certain types of food can help fight cancer – but some can also worsen the situation.
Dietitian and nutritionist Kavita Devgan, who has worked extensively on diets for cancer patients, tells Sputnik that it is imperative to stick to natural and whole foods as much as possible.

“A foolproof rule is to eat a diet loaded with fibre (fruits, vegetables, whole grains). Research clearly shows that people who eat diets high in fibre have lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in their blood which is a marker of inflammation that is linked to cancer risk,” Devgan advises.

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is also essential to prevent cancer. That's because, Devgan adds, “chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer. Hence to prevent that, one must intake green tea which has very potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties, particularly catechins.”
She also shares that eating alkalising foods like eggplant tops the list: “It is not only a perfect antidote to all the acidic foods we eat, but it also delivers a lot of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanin, which is a proven inflammation cutter."
Choosing good fat over bad fat foods is also a key factor that helps fight cancer.
“Avoid high intake of saturated fat in the diet including butter, red meat, etc. An ideal diet is low in total fat, low in polyunsaturated fat, and low in saturated fat too,” Devgan explains.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала