India’s cancer burden is continuing to increase according to a recent data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). If the reports are to be believed, the dreadful cancer cases have increased by over 3X times in the last one year. The news came from the Health Minister Ashwini Choubey, who affirmed the Lok Sabha that the Centre was emphasizing its efforts to tackle breast, cervical, and oral cancer which account for 41 percent of the total cancer burden in the country together with lung cancer. Among women, the occurrence of breast cancer is on the spike with more and more cases being detected every year. Despite regular clinical trials and studies being carried out, it seems like we are still far away from curbing this menace.
With Cancer being labeled as leading threats to public health in India, Dr. Ayan Basu, HOD of Radiation Oncology, HCG EKO Cancer Centre says cancers such as lung, breast, head, neck and gastrointestinal were on the rise last year. So what are the reasons for it? He immediately quips that it is directly related to lifestyle changes resulting in obesity, early menarche, delayed childbirth etc. Also, tobacco plays a main role in being the principal culprit of causing cancer.
Currently, the national average cancer incidence is 13.1 for every lakh people, with more than half of states recording an incidence. In the coming years, cancer is expected only to increase further. By 2040, cancer rates are expected to almost double to twenty lakh compared to 11.6 lakh cases in 2016. The disease is estimated to have killed 784,821 Indians last year, with new cases numbering at 1.15 million and the total number of people living with cancer in the country posited at 2.25 million.
So what can one do to avert this and stay healthy? Many doctors say building awareness regarding early cancer signs and symptoms and regular cancer screening is extremely critical in being cancer-free because if diagnosed earlier at a long pre-malignant phase through regular screening, one need not suffer from chemo or radiation later. Dr. Basu too says, “Mammography, Faecal Occult Blood tests, PSA, pap smear, self-breast examination, avoiding tobacco, fatty foods and exercising regularly to control obesity are some of the important measures to taken to avoid uncertainties or health threats in the family.”
Also by committing to regular exercise for five days a week, investing in hobbies/leisure activities that help keep a check on mounting stress levels, avoiding smoking, and regulating the intake of alcohol will help in preventing the disease. For women above 40 years of age, regular breast examination with a mammogram is recommended once every two years. In high-risk cases, it is advisable to complete the family before long and get the ovaries removed if possible. This reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer by more than 50 percent. Chemo preventive medications are also known to mitigate risk.
Apart from Cancer, India is also home to 77 million diabetics, second highest in the world. One in six people with diabetes in the world is from India. The numbers place the country among the top 10 countries for people with diabetes, coming in at number two with an estimated 77 million diabetics. China leads the list with over 116 million diabetics. The prevalence of diabetes in India has also remained at 11.8% in the last four years, according to the National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey report released by the health and family welfare ministry. The survey conducted during 2015-2019 by Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi also showed that the prevalence of known diabetes cases was 8.0% and new diabetes cases were 3.8%.
The ninth edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas offers projections that continue to put India at the second slot right up to 2045. And the numbers are staggering — just over 134 million Indians will be diabetics in the next 25 years. Thus, the IDF has stressed the urgency to develop and implement multi-sectoral strategies to combat the growing epidemic.
What is alarming? Doctors especially say a tremendous increase in type-2 diabetes will be observed in India in the coming years. However, medical experts feel that timely detection and right management can go a long way in helping patients lead a normal life. Apart from cancer, diabetes might be one of the most talked-about diseases across the world and especially in India, but awareness about the same can well be estimated by the fact that India today has more people with type-2 diabetes (more than 50 million) only next to China. Medical health experts assert that regular check-ups and timely detection plays a vital role in controlling and managing the problem. Ironically, due to patient resistance and feeling of disbelief that they may never have diabetes or it’s only for the old deceives most patients to defer on detection and treatment that often leads to complications. Un-monitored prevalence of diabetes also results in an increased risk of vascular complications like cardiovascular, renal, neural and visual disorders which are related to the duration of the disease.
Though our country has a few health threats, what is comforting is that India is home to some of the finest hospitals and treatments. Currently, India is placed among the top three medical tourism destinations in Asia, mainly due to the low cost of treatment, quality healthcare infrastructure and availability of highly-skilled doctors, says a study.
Health & Wellness in Totality
Healthy living is about living completely, in harmony with nature, our environment and our inner self. It is about integrating our mind, body and soul. Wellness is much more than the absence of illness, it is health-promoting behaviors to achieve your full potential. In other words, it is the pursuit of your best possible health and well-being. It is a conscious choice, self directed and self motivating.Wellness is an active process of becoming aware and make choice towards a healthy and desired life. It is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. Some institutions like CGH Earth Ayurveda which is a part of the wellness wing of CGH Earth, are offering uniquely immersive travel experiences which focus on providing complete well-being based on the traditional and authentic Ayurvedic system of healing.
It is the conscious development of the whole self. Embarking on a wellness journey is a process of searching for the appropriate “tools” to make you a healthier and happier human being.
Wellness has been recognized as the positive component of optimal health as evidenced by a sense of well-being reflected in optimal functioning, a good quality of life, meaningful work and a contribution to society.