Experts have suggested that cancer cases has been seen affecting young people at an alarming rate in today’s world. According to the studies, it is mainly due to lifestyle factors rather than any genetic factors. People nowadays are not only addicted to smoking and alcohol consumption but also they consume foods that are high in sodium and low in fibre and fruits.
A recent study found that global cases of early-onset cancer have increased from 1.82 million in 1990 to 3.26 million in 2019. Cancer cases that are diagnosed at the age of 14-49 years of age are referred to as early-onset cancers and these are mainly prevalent nowadays. The young generation is seen to be more affected and experts say that the reason may vary from urbanization to environmental factors like pollution.
According to Dr Vinay Gaikwad, Director – Surgical Oncology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, “It is true that cancer cases have been on the rise and the most common causes behind it are lifestyle factors, environmental factors like pollution, intake of processed foods, genetic predisposition as well as increased awareness and diagnostic advancements.
In other words, cancer is becoming an epidemic so we should enough alert and should be able to understand how to prevent it or at least detect this disease early when it is curable. The most common cancers in India are breast cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer. Individuals should consult healthcare facilities and do regular screening to stay healthy and free from any disease.”
Cancer cases – Reasons behind the increase
According to Dr Rajat Bajaj, Principal Consultant – Medical Oncology, Fortis Hospital Noida, there are 4 common reasons for the spike in cancer cases in recent decades.
Better diagnostic tools
Nowadays diagnostic tools are easily available and accessible, so cancer detection has become higher. This also leads to early detection and hence proper screening and awareness in society are of paramount importance.
Smoking and alcohol consumption are increasing day by day which is one of the major causes of cancer mainly leading to head and neck malignancies, gastrointestinal and renal/bladder cancers, etc. There has also been a sharp rise in the use of vaping/e-cigarettes among the urban youth whereas, rural areas still use hookah and bidi which puts the person and his family (second-hand smoke) at huge risk for cancer.
Late marriages, late pregnancy, obesity, increased alcohol consumption or smoking by females, and a sedentary lifestyle have been rising and are mainly responsible for increasing the incidence of breast and ovarian cancer in urban females. Also, more consumption of fast foods and processed foods has increased causing colon cancer in both genders.
High levels of pollution in India mainly in Delhi and its adjoining areas are quite dreadful for your health and can also lead to lung cancer. Use of N95 filter masks while going out is advisable.
Cancer cases – How to prevent it?
Cancer cases can be prevented mainly by adopting a healthy lifestyle with proper intake of food and sleep. A balanced diet rich in antioxidants, avoiding processed meats and red meat, and abstaining from tobacco products and alcohol, all play an important role in decreasing one’s risk of developing cancer. One should also stay well aware of their health and should never ignore signs like unexplained weight loss, decreased appetite, prolonged cough, blood in stool or urine, or an increasing painless lump in the breast or other parts of the body.
Individuals who are at high risk should also perform early screening to avoid the spreading of cancer in the whole body. Lastly, anyone can suffer from cancer. Be aware, make people aware and take care of yourself. Because cancer is curable if detected early.