Cancer in India- Why is this disease on an exponential rise in the past few decades?

The cancer burden in India has more than doubled over the last 26 years. The highest increase among all therapy areas, with breast cancer being the most common among Indian women, according to a recent report.

To understand the rise in this disease, we must understand the core…There is a myriad of chemicals in our environment. They make up everything around us, including our bodies. While chemicals like carbon and oxygen are essential to life, there are some that are toxic and cancer-causing known as carcinogens. These carcinogens damage DNA and the way cells work. Our bodies are engineered with built-in defenses to stop and correct the damage. However, sometimes these safety mechanisms fail to allow uncontrolled cell growth, known as cancer. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells hide from the immune system and create tumors that have their own blood supply while invading other organs.

Scientists are constantly researching chemicals individually to see if they trigger cancer. The research shows that a series of chemical changes produce properties that eventually cause cancer. With various new chemicals being produced for commercial use, scientists have determined that a combination of these may lead to a cascade that affects healthy cells and makes them cancerous.

While it may not be possible to avoid all consumer chemicals, there are things we can do to reduce our risk of contracting the disease.

Thousands of women face breast cancer despite eating a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco and alcohol consumption and exercising often. This is because environmental pollutants and stress play a significant role. Chemicals in food, water and homes can alter the way breast cells mature. It is believed that curtailing environmental pollutants and simplifying our food supply chain could help in cutting the risk. More ways to mitigate the risk is by cutting down on fast foods, canned foods, eating lower fat meat and dairy products and making the switch to organics. Due to the obesity, lack of exercise and a proper diet, colon and rectal cancers are also escalating in number. Processed meat, which increases the exposure to N-nitroso compounds are known to cause colorectal cancers.

The best way to prevent this disease from developing and taking over our bodies it is imperative to:-

  • Eat rich, fibrous vegetables and fruits that are full of anti-oxidants
  • Reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and radiation
  • Curtailing alcohol consumption
  • Eliminating tobacco
  • Keeping a check on stress levels
  • Consume only low-fat dairy and meats