There is now a clear scientific consensus that cancer is largely preventable, with appropriate diet and lifestyle management playing a key role.The development of cancer is usually a relatively slow process which requires a substantial proportion of the lifetime of an individual. The cancers of childhood which often affect growing tissues such as the brain or bones are important exceptions to this rule and these diseases are often associated with the presence of mutations (defective genes) inherited from one or both parents. Inherited mutations are also known to be important in the development of cancers of later life but, generally speaking, tumour cells are found to contain a large number of mutations which have been acquired during life. These so-called somatic mutations occur because of exposure to environmental chemicals which damage the body’s blueprint for life, DNA. Molecules which damage DNA can be generated by the body itself. For example, molecules containing oxygen often briefly acquire a special chemical structure enabling them to interact strongly with DNA. These ‘free radicals’ are generated during normal respiration. Antioxidant substances, in their unique natural location and natural combination with other nutrients, contained in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, Indian spices, scavenge free radicals and protect cells from excessive DNA damage. They prevent the blue print of the body from being damaged It has also been also documented that Indian unadulterated pure spices and vegetables inhibit the enzymes which are integral to procarcinogen metabolism.
Tools to prevent cancer
What you eat and drink, how you live, where you work . . . all these factors can affect your risk for cancer. Find out more about these risks and what you can do to minimize them.
Some of the tools for prevention of cancer are:
Keep away from tobacco
Tobacco is the most preventable cause of death and most preventable cause of cancer. Avoid tobacco. If you are consuming tobacco, in any form, give it up.
Keep away from second hand smoke
Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are also at higher risk of getting cancer and other lung diseases. If you chew tobacco, quit, If you are a smoker, quit. If you are a non-smoker, avoid second-hand smoke. . Use of tobacco (both smoked and chewable forms ) increases your risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, cervix, pancreas, oesophagus, lungs, colon, rectum, kidney and bladder.
Avoid insecticides, pesticides and other pollutants
Pesticides and insecticides in the food ( fruits, vegetables and grains ) and the environment get inside the body into each cell membrane.Over time, these can damage the blue print of the body.
This after a few years can cause cancer.
Screening for Cancer
Follow cancer screening guidelines:
Women should learn to examine their own breasts once a week breasts. It is best done when having a bath. Raise one hand above the head. With the other hand, using the flat of the hand, examine the other breasts using small circular movements. The whole breast including the area near and under the armpit needs to be self-examined. If there is any mass or ball like structure felt it should be reported to the doctor. Learn more about breast self-examination from your doctor.
For women, whose mother or sister has had breast cancer discuss with a cancer specialist about mammography.
SCREEN FOR CERVICAL CANCER
Speak to your doctor about screening for cervical cancer.
A Pap test ( a smear from the cervix is taken on the slide), done from the cervix is able to detect cancer in the cervix in the very precancerous stages and treatment at this stage can prevent cancer of the cervix .
It is a painless and simple test which women after 40 years of age should get done atleast every 3 years.
SCREEN FOR PROSTATE CANCER IN MEN
Speak to your doctor about screening for prostate cancer.
It is generally advisable to get a blood test done in older men which detects the probability of prostate cancer.
Know your body . If there are any changes in your daily body habits then report to the doctor (change in the menstrual cycle or flow, change in bowel movements, drop in your body weight with loss of appetite, a cough which goes on for more than 4 weeks, spotting after menopause, an ulcer which is not healing, difficulty in passing urine etc). Doctors are trained to spot the early manifestations of disease.
If you notice any painless ulcer in the mouth then again show it to your doctor.