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How Cancer Is Slowly Becoming A Lifestyle Disease

Dr. Abhirup Chakrabarti

The Indian Council of Medical Research reports that there will be 8 lakh deaths by 2020.

The Indian Council of Medical Research reports that there will be 8 lakh cancer deaths by 2020. It has been observed that despite having a healthy lifestyle, people can still get cancer. Certain lifestyle-related risk factors can increase one’s chances of getting cancer during their lifetime. Have a look at how cancer is slowly becoming a lifestyle disease:

Obesity

Hormonal, genetic, environmental, cultural and emotional factors can cause people to become obese. Obesity is linked with a higher risk of serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. It is also associated with an increased risk of getting various types of cancers. Complex mechanisms have proven to link obesity with increased risks of getting cancer.

Alcohol

Alcohol can be damaging more than just your liver. Many are not aware that regular alcohol drinking can raise the risk of cancer too. Exactly how alcohol affects the risk of cancer is not completely understood but there are several ways it can increase the risk:

  • Causing weight gain & hormonal imbalance
  • Damaging body tissues
  • Impairing cell recovery mechanisms
  • Slows down the body’s ability to get rid of harmful chemicals
  • Hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrients

Tobacco

Did you know that tobacco smoke is the number one risk factor for lung cancer? Every time it is inhaled, it creates an ideal environment for forming cancerous cells in your body. How? The chemicals present in tobacco smoke penetrate the cells and damage/change the DNA. They sabotage the genes that help in the process of cell growth and division. On the other hand, smokeless (chewing) tobacco contains at least 28 chemicals that cause oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancer.

Diet

No study proves a specific food or diet’s direct link to this disease, but certain foods could change a person’s risk of cancer. Processed foods (packaged foods, sugary drinks, instant meals, etc.), too much spicy and grilled food items, red and processed meats, and foods cooked at high temperatures. Even a higher consumption of dairy is linked to prostate cancer.

Sun exposure

Skin cells become cancer cells when it is exposed to UV radiation. Most of the skin cancers are caused by too much UV radiation or other sources such as sunbeds, sun lamps, and solaria. UV radiation penetrates the skin and damages the cells in such a way that they start to grow uncontrollably. This growth eventually leads to tumour formation.

Note: Cancer is a fatal disease but if diagnosed at the right time, it can be cured by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or surgery.

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