DM - Oncology, MBBS, MD - Medicine
Why is Cancer the biggest Threat to the YOUNG in India?
There are fewer Indians who have successfully battled Cancer and have emerged successful. Yuvraj Singh, the legendary cricketer, who was diagnosed with a rare cancer at 29, survived due to an early detection. Cancer cases in India are not as many as they are in the developed world. However, due to late detection the survival rate in the country is far worse. Particularly, we are losing our youth to Cancer. Most tobacco (pan masala) related cancers and child cancers go undetected until very late.
Few cancers like cervical cancer and breast cancer which affect women of any age, are curable, however, due to lack of awareness and timely screening, many Indian women succumb to these cancers. The most common sites for cancer among men are lung, prostate, colon, rectum, stomach and liver while that among women are breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix and stomach.
In proportion to our population, we lack the right infrastructure nationwide. esp in the northern and north eastern region, there is a dearth of good cancer facilities, where radiation, care or treatment can be given. Not even one third of cancer patients are alive beyond 5 years after their diagnosis in India, and about 71% of cancer deaths occur in patients in their prime productive years — between the ages of 30 to 69 years.
"Most Indians believe that cancer is generally incurable and that it should be kept secret from neighbors and family." - Dr Paul Goss, MD, Harvard University.
All these factors have contributed to a very high mortality rate. No wonder Cancer is dreaded in the country. Investment, infrastructure, lifestyles as well as mindsets need to change if we were to contain the Cancer mortality rate. While you need to watch out for early signs of cancer, here are the lifestyle changes every individual esp. all youth must adopt to avoid cancer.
1. Avoid Tobacco - both: smoking and chewing.
2. Reduce alcohol intake - Save your organs from deteriorating.
3. Limit UV ray exposure from the sun - Keeps your skin safe.
4. Maintain a healthy diet - Include foods rich in Vitamins, minerals and fiber which nourish your body and build immunity.
5. Increase your level of fitness - Maintain a good bodyweight. Additional flab invites a host of troubles, that includes variety of cancers.
6. Seeking regular medical checkup or screening - This is the only way to prevent and get detected early on.