Cancer incidence and mortality are rising worldwide with cancer being one of the top three causes of mortality in the world. Head & neck cancer and breast cancer are the commonest cancer in our country. Lifestyle and environmental factors cause about 80% of total cancers, the rest being caused by genetic factors.Also Read - Omicron New Variant: What Is Stealth Omicron? How Dangerous Is It? Everything You Need To Know; Watch Video
Dr. Nikhil Kalyani, Consultant Radiation Oncology, Jaslok Hospital, and Research, Mumbai shares his inputs on lifestyle factors that are leading causes for cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality. The commonest factors are smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, obesity, and diet (red meat, fried food). Economic development and demographic changes have caused a rise in lifestyle-related cancers like head neck cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, etc. Also Read - 5 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health During the Pandemic
Tobacco consumption (smoking and smokeless) is the commonest factor causing approximately 20% of cancer worldwide most common being head neck and lung cancer. Tobacco consumption alone can cause about 10 types of cancers. Obesity and high caloric diet can cause cancers like breast, endometrium, and colorectal cancer. A sedentary lifestyle with less physical activity has a multiplier effect on cancer development with other factors. Also Read - 7 Lifestyle Habits That are Increasing Your Risk of Cervical Cancer
Cancer incidence in developed societies can be reduced by half with primary prevention and modifying lifestyle mainly lung and breast cancer.
Following lifestyle modifications can act as primary prevention against cancer:
1. Quit tobacco (smoke and smokeless)
2. Stop alcohol consumption
3. Healthy diet: Increase fruits and vegetables, reduce red meat and processed meat
4. Avoid obesity
5. Increase physical activities (at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activities per week)
Major lifestyle changes can make cancer a preventable disease. A healthy lifestyle is a pathway to cancer-free life.