Processed foods, pollution cause rise in cancer cases
New Delhi: Even after serious strides towards cancer treatment and rising awareness levels all over the world, the number of cancer cases is increasing in national Capital. Between 2015 and 2018, these cases have risen up by 12.9 per cent. According to the data of the National Cancer Registry Programme, a unit run by the ICMR, there was a total of 19,168 cancer patients in Delhi in 2015. The number increased to 20,000 in 2016, and in 2017 it was 20,899 while figures rose to 21,821 in 2018. In fact, if the number is calculated, the number of cases has increased by almost a thousand persons every year for last two years.
Besides this, the mortality of cancer patients also increased by 8.6 per cent between 2015 and 2018 in Delhi, the number was 10,127 in 2016 and 10,533 in 2017 and 11,039 in year 2018. Moreover, the report further pointed that cancer is claiming lives of average 30 patients every day in the Capital.
Speaking about the prevalence of cancer, Dr Anup Kumar Gupta, Professor and Head of Urology at Safdarjung Hospital, said, "Most cases that we receive are related to oral and lung cancer but prostate cancer is prominent in males, whereas female report breast cancer, cervical cancer. But, most of cancer patients come to our hospital at the metastasis stage around 40 percent and nearly 10 per cent patients come with the early stage."
"In our OPD, we receive around 1,000 patients every day, in which 70-80 percent have the symptoms of prostrate cancer while 30-40 percent majorly suffer from the cancer, he added.
Studies suggested that people who eat more highly processed foods such as chicken nuggets and instant noodles have a higher risk of cancer. It's long been known that eating fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains lower the risk of cancer. Obesity also raises the risk of cancer, and junk food is full of calories, he added.
"People who eat a lot of junk food have other habits that predispose them to cancer, not less than smoking. They are a long way from understanding the full implications of food processing for health and wellbeing. There are several ways that processed foods could in theory trigger cancer risks," expert said.
Dr Gupta further said that firstly, ultra-processed foods often have a higher content of total fat, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt, along with a lower fiber and vitamin density. "Processing also creates carcinogenic compounds, such as acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. And these foods are packaged, and chemicals can leach out of the packaging," he said.
"Cancer can be broadly termed as an outcome of prolonged inflammation coupled with weak immune system and that could be attributed to the following facts: Irregular lifestyle deranged eating habits, poor sleep schedule; poor immune system and ever receding immunity of our Indian population, thanks to the contamination in the air, water, soil and over medications," said Vaidya Shikha Prakash.
She further added that in the current scenario, the focus of treatment has shifted to symptomatic treatment and not addressing the root cause of the disease. "Rising incidences of inflammatory disorders are due to unwarranted physical, mental and emotional stress. Moreover, depletion of minerals in ecosystem and poor absorption of minerals in the Gastrointestinal tract also cause cancer."