From 1990 to 2015, life expectancy in India has increased by about 10 years that is from 57.9 years in 1990 to 68.3 years in 2015. With this rise, there has also been significant increase in cases of Cancer reported in India.
The primary triggers for non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, cancers and strokes in India are Tobacco and alcohol use, inactivity and obesity. The non-communicable diseases mentioned above account for 61% of all deaths in India. It was 37.9% in 1990.
Among women, the most cases of cancer reported are breast and cervix, among men the cases are lung and mouth cavity.
The cancer cases are projected to cross 1.73 million by 2020.
CSE’s new report, Body Burden: Lifestyle Diseases, said that Processed foods that contain little or no proteins, vitamins or minerals, and are high in processed salt, sugar, fats and energy (calories) push up cancer risk by up to 30% in developed countries and 20% in the developing world.
A healthy lifestyle includes:
• (500 gm) of vegetables and fruits a day
• exercising regularly for 45min every day
• limiting alcohol use and
• Quitting tobacco use.
Dr T Sundararaman, dean at the School of Health Systems Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai says that “It has been observed that a diet of fruits and vegetables not only decreases the risk to colon cancer, but also plays a protective role.”
According to Dr Mehboob Basade, medical oncologist at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, “Eating processed meat such as sausages, cold cuts, salami, hot dogs, bacon, ham, smoked and dried meat raises the risk of colon, pancreatic and prostate cancers.”
Environmental factors such as chronic exposure to chemicals and pollution also plays a role, with metals, pesticides, dyes, persistent organic pollutants, pharmaceuticals, chlorinated solvents and drinking water disinfectants causing toxicities that lead to malignancies. Commonly used household chemicals and cosmetics also contain cancer-causing compounds.
• vinyl chloride
Dr PK Julka, former head of radiation oncology department, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) says that close to 60% of cancers in India are preventable and also said that around 40% cancers in India are caused by tobacco use and another 20% are from infections such as hepatitis B that causes liver cancer and HPV that causes cervical cancer.
“I have had people as young as 20 come in with oral cancer,” says Dr Basade. “This is due to the tobacco-chewing habit, which is a common cause of cancer. Even 25 years after quitting tobacco use, former users have a 4% higher risk of cancer.”
Dr Basade says that “A healthy lifestyle has to go hand-in-hand with a good diet to lower your risk.” “There is no excuse for smoking or drinking. You cannot say that I exercise, so it is okay for me to drink.”