In the face of a concerning projection by the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Cancer Registry Programme (ICMR-NCRP), estimating an increase in cancer cases from 14.6 lakh in 2022 to 15.7 lakh in 2025, the imperative role of lifestyle choices in preventing cancer becomes evident.
Studies and longitudinal research indicate a rising trend in cancer diagnoses, emphasizing the need to acknowledge the personal efforts we can make in the battle against this formidable foe. Beyond genetics and environmental factors, our daily lifestyle choices wield a profound influence on preventing cancer.
Dr. Shivam Shingla, Consultant-Medical Oncologist at SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim-A Fortis Associate, explains, “Cancer is a metabolic disease, arising from changes in energy levels and a cell’s ability to regulate excess energy through metabolism. Research reveals a strong link between diet, stress, nutrition, and cancer.” Dr. Shingla cites a study from China suggesting a reduction in lung cancer incidence for individuals consuming curd, a food rich in probiotics and antioxidants. A diet encompassing fruits, vegetables, and probiotics correlates with a lower incidence of cancer.
Dr. Ekta Singhwal, MSc Dietician at Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, emphasizes the nutritional aspect, stating, “Adopting a healthy lifestyle through balanced nutrition and regular exercise is a powerful shield against cancer. A nutritious diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, provides essential antioxidants and nutrients that bolster the body’s defense. Consistent healthy choices in diet and exercise significantly reduce the risk of cancer, underlining the pivotal role of lifestyle in safeguarding long-term health.”
Chitharesh Kongarampilly Natesan, also known as The Indian Monster, an Indian professional bodybuilder, asserts, “While we cannot control our genetic makeup, we have considerable influence over our lifestyle choices. Physical activity is equally vital. Regular exercise not only helps maintain a healthy body weight but also regulates hormones and boosts the immune system, aiding in cancer prevention.” Engaging in a well-rounded fitness routine, including cardiovascular exercises, strength training, flexibility work, and mindful practices like yoga or meditation, can be a potent tool in the fight against cancer.
Dr. Rupali Bhatia, MBBS, MS, DNB (Obstetrics & Gynecology) at Apollo Cradle and Children’s Hospital, Motinagar, New Delhi, concludes, “Combining a wholesome diet with regular exercise creates a synergistic effect, enhancing the overall protective impact on the body. Additionally, these lifestyle choices contribute to hormonal balance, further reducing the risk of hormone-related cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer.”