Cancer Alert!

The 4th of February is marked as World Cancer Day. Over the past decade, this deadly affliction has been on an unprecedented rise all over the world, making itself a more regularly heard of ailment. Parsi Times catches up with surgical oncologist Dr. Marzi Mehta, who shares insights into some of the more pertinent statistics, relevant to Cancer within the Parsi community and emphasizes how the safest way forward towards both – prevention and cure – is early detection.

With Mumbai forming the main hub of Parsi habitation, it is important to take note of trends within this city first. The total Number of new cancer cases in Mumbai amount to roughly 13,500 and the distribution amongst men and women is almost equal, with a slightly higher incidence in women. Although a fair percentage of the population affected by cancer are over the age of 75, what is worrisome is that more than 50% of the cancer patients are less than 65 years of age. Cancers of the Lung, Head and Neck account for more than 20% of all cancers in the city (in men) whereas in women 30% of all cancers are related to the breast. There has been a growing incidences of Lung cancer in women – a new trend, which was previously a malignancy more common amongst males.
The major contributors to cancer risk include being overweight, obese or having an inactive lifestyle. The consumption of alcohol increases the risk of numerous cancers, including those of the liver, esophagus, pharynx, oral cavity, larynx, breast and colon.

Cancer Trends Amongst Parsis:

  • Parsi men and women are particularly susceptible to prostate and breast cancer respectively.
  • Parsis suffer more from cancer of the breast, endometrium, lymphomas and leukemia than non-Parsi communities.
  • Parsis have a genetic tendency towards cancer, especially breast cancer, as they follow westernized dietary and living habits, which are considered to be the contributing factors.
  • Breast cancer ranks first amongst both the female populations, although among Parsi women the affliction is present 1.6 times higher than that of the non–Parsi women. Late marriages, infrequent breast feeding and low fertility, in turn are responsible for the higher rate of breast cancer among the Parsi women.
  • Cancer of the cervix is second among the non-Parsi women, while it ranks fourth amongst Parsi women. The importance of hygiene in the community reduces the cases of cervix cancer. The reasons for the variation in the patterns are different habits, customs and economic status of the two groups.
  • While lymphoma ranks first in Parsi males, it ranks eighth in other communities.
  • Lung Cancer ranks first among the non-Parsi males, whereas it is fourth among the Parsi males.


Measures To Reduce The Risk Of Cancer:

  • Early detection is the key to cancer control. Although cancer cannot be completely prevented (as there are many reasons why a cancer develops in the individual), it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle with enough exercise.
  • Increased intake of green leafy vegetables is considered protective against colon and rectal cancers.
  • Reduced intake of red meat is one of the preventive measures for colon cancer.
  • Smoking and tobacco chewing increases the risk of oral cancers as well as multiple other cancers. Hence, keep away from tobacco and tobacco related products.
  • Maintaining healthy weight reduces the risk of many cancers.
  • Regular health check-ups make a massive difference in both – prevention and early detection and thereby, successful treatment.


Important To Note:

The early detection of cancer is our best defense against cancer. So go for your medical check-ups every year or six-months, without fail. Screening for cancer is essential in the fight against cancer. Cancer is a highly complex disease and is best treated by oncologists, or doctors who super specialize in the care of cancer. MAKE THE MOST OF EVERYDAY, EARLY DETECTION IS THE WAY!

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