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Cancer prevention and early detection

Cancer prevention and early detection

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Basic tips for early detection or prevention of cancers
Basic tips for early detection or prevention of cancers

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Published by: Premendra Priyadarshi on Jul 21, 2012
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04/10/2013

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Things to know about Cancer: Prevention and EarlyDetection
1
 
P. Priyadarshi, MBBS, MD, FRCP (Edin)
Up to fifty percent of all cancers are preventable. Moreover, most of thecancers are curable if diagnosed early. Hence it is desirable that all of us knowhow cancers can be prevented or diagnosed early. Lifestyle modification goes along way in preventing cancer.Lifestyle changes:1.
 
About twenty percent of cancers are caused by smoking. Alcohol toocauses 3.5% of all cancers. It is recommended that one should refrainfrom tobacco and restrict alcohol intake. The permissible daily limit of alcohol is 60 to 90 ml of spirits (whisky, rum, gin, vodka) for men andtwo thirds of that for women. One bottle of beer equals 60 ml of whisky.A goblet of wine (100 ml) equals 30 ml of whisky.2.
 
Regular physical activity and the maintenance of ideal body weight,along with a healthy diet reduce cancer risk. Obesity and physicalinactivity cause one third of cancer deaths. One must exercise or walkthree hours a week.3.
 
Carcinogens are chemicals which produce cancers. All foods, especiallyfats, produce carcinogens on heating at very high temperatures (deep-frying, barbecuing etc.). Boiling is safe. A low fat and low sugar diet isdesirable for cancer prevention. Sugar does not cause cancer itself. Buthigh intake of refined sugar disturbs body metabolism in such a way thatcancer growth is promoted.4.
 
High fibre diet prevents a large number of cancers (cancers of colon,stomach and breast). Diet should provide high amount of fibre in eachmeal. Fresh fruits, carrot, legumes like beans and peas, green leafyvegetables and almonds contain lot of fibre. Fruits and vegetables alsoprovide antioxidants which protect body against cancers.5.
 
Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) are known for their pro-cancer effects. Theyshould be avoided. Fish can be taken, provided it is cooked in minimumof oil.6.
 
Healthy cooking practices reduce incidence of many cancers. Frying,barbequing and high temperature microwaving are not good. Boiling,poaching and steaming are good.
1
The article was published in the May 2010 issue of the
Eternal India
journal, published by India FirstFoundation, 5 Hailey Road, New Delhi.
 
7.
 
Diet should contain micronutrients in good amounts. Suchmicronutrients include vitamin D, vitamin E, resveratrol, vitamin B(especially B12).8.
 
Too much of stress causes cancer. Relaxation techniques especially yoga,meditation and
 pranayam
have proven role in cancer prevention.9.
 
Sex with multiple partners causes cancer of cervix in women. Where thewoman has a single partner, but her male partner has multiple sexpartners, cancer risk is still high. It is because cancer of cervix is causedby Human Papilloma Virus, which spreads by sexual contact. Pap SmearTest can detect very early cancers of cervix. All sexually active womenshould have this test annually.10.
 
Screening for certain cancers is pragmatic, and for others not. Apartfrom Pap Smear mentioned above, women should also have screeningfor breast cancer. Self-examination of breast three-monthly, by a doctorannually and by mammography annually after the age of forty isrecommended.11.
 
All normal people should not be screened for other cancers, becausethey are expensive. Screening tests should be done if a patient showsany symptom of cancer or has any particular risk factor. The symptomsand signs of cancer are shared by common benign conditions. It needs tobe reemphasized that only a fraction of people having these signs orsymptoms will actually have cancer.Warning signs of Cancer:1.
 
Change in bowel or bladder habit. Recent onset of constipation oftenfollowed by diarrhoea in someone above fifty years of age should beinvestigated properly. Some of such patients may have cancer of colon.Other features of cancer of colon are: blood in stool (whether visible or
‘occult’)
and iron deficiency anaemia. Change in urine habit is commonlycaused by enlargement of prostate gland (Benign ProstaticEnlargement). Yet some of them may have cancer of prostate, whichneeds to be ruled out if the prostate looks nodular in ultrasound or tothe examining finger of the doctor.2.
 
An ulcer in mouth or skin that does not heal. Mouth cancers are usually,but not always, proceeded by a white patch lasting months or years. Skincancers usually occur in the sun-exposed areas.3.
 
Bleeding (other than normal menstrual) from natural orifices (rectum,bladder or vagina). Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse. Bleedingfrom vagina in between two menstrual cycles. Any vaginal bleeding after

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