IMA White Paper on Cancer Prevention

On the occasion of World Cancer Day, the Indian Medical Association said that cancer is preventable and curable provided it is detected early. IMA National President Padma Shri Awardee Dr A M Pillai and Honorary Secretary General Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal released guidelines for cancer prevention for the public.

IMA White Paper on Cancer Prevention
Addressing a press conference here today the IMA officials said that any symptoms or sign which is unusual, appearing for the first time or which cannot be explained should not be ignored.

Padma Shri Awardees Dr Rajesh Grover and Dr Ashok Vaid, in a joint statement said that most cancers can be prevented with a correct and healthy lifestyle. The following guidelines were released at the press conference.

Nine warning signals of cancer
1. Unusual bleeding or discharge from any site or orifice (even a single episode, especially if painless).
2. A lump, nodule or swelling in any part of the body (especially in breast).
3. An ulcer or wound anywhere that does not heal, including mouth cavity.
4. Persistent irritating cough or hoarseness of voice.
5. Indigestion or pain difficulty during swallowing.
6. Recent change in bowel or bladder habits.
7. Obvious change in shape, size or appearance of a wart or mole.
8. Repeated headaches, progressive change in vision, convulsions or progressive weakness of one part or side of the body.
9. Unexplained irregular fever, progressive weight loss, and persistent loss in appetite or progressive weakness.

General lifestyle recommendations
*Say no to active and passive tobacco and smoking.
*Be physically active.
*Maintain a healthy weight and abdominal (waist) circumference.
*Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in saturated/trans fats.
*Limit alcohol intake.
*Protect against sexually transmitted infections.
*Avoid excess sun.
*Get regular screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer.

IMA Delhi State Cancer Institute Pledge
I will keep

1. Myself away from tobacco/betel/quid in all forms like smoking, chewing, sniffing, dental paste/powders etc.
2. In my meals regularly a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains – red/yellow/green leafy vegetables, fruits, beans etc.
3. Away from non-vegetarian food and even if I take, I shall limit consumption of red meat (like beef, pork, lamb) and avoid processed meats.
4. Myself free from HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infections.
5. Myself physically active and do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
6. My weight within normal range.
7. Low, my consumption of high energy low fiber foods and drinks.
8. Low, my consumption of high salty, pickled, smoked foods and foods processed with salt.
9. Alcohol consumption to the minimum, if at all I take.
10. My children on breastfeed exclusively for up to first 6 months after birth and then add other liquids and foods (if applicable).
11. Compliance with the recommendations of my doctors during treatment as well as during follow-up, in case I happen to suffer from cancer at any stage in my life.
12. My fight back against cancer and will not default in treatment, if I ever happen to suffer from cancer.
13. Myself checked up once in a year, even if I do not have any symptoms.

Some Facts
*Tobacco is responsible for 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths.
*Tobacco is tied to many other cancers.
*Red meat consumption may promote colorectal cancer.
*High intake of tomatoes probably decreases prostate cancer risk.
*Vitamin D may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
*Adequate calcium intake may protect against colorectal cancer but high calcium intake (>2000 mg/day) increases risk for prostate cancer.
*Folate in diet has been associated with a decreased risk of colon and breast cancer, especially in women who drink alcohol.
*Alcohol intake, even in moderate quantities, increases the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oral cancer.
*Physical activity is inversely related to risk for colon and breast cancer.
*Excess weight increases the risk of many cancers.
*HPV, HCV, HIV and Helicobacter pylori have been linked to human cancers.
*Exposure prevention, screening, vaccination for HPV and early treatment for abnormal cervical findings and HIV infection can prevent cancer.
*Aspirin and NSAIDs offer protection against adenomatous polyps and colorectal cancer.
*Tamoxifen decreases incidence of breast cancer in high-risk women.
*The anti-diabetic drug metformin is associated with reduced cancer incidence in patients with type 2 diabetes.