SQU holds workshop on lifestyle, cancer prevention

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MUSCAT: The Food Science and Nutrition Department, CAMS, SQU, recently organised a workshop on ‘Diet, lifestyle and cancer prevention’ in which 10 experts shared their knowledge about cancer risk in Oman.
In addition to the emerging concepts for cancer etiology, survivorship and lifestyle modifications the experts covered a broad range of topics such as functional food, dietary antioxidants, natural therapeutic agents, dietary supplements and nutrition after cancer diagnosis.
The speakers threw light on the prevalence of cancer, which is growing worldwide, and discussed the evidence base for a link between cancer, obesity and dietary habits.
Recent investigations, according to the speakers, have identified the role of inflammation in cancer development and progression. Obesity is associated with chronic, low-grade inflammation which increases the risk of cancer.
There are many studies that investigated that certain types of food and dietary habits could modulate the inflammatory response and thus lower the risk of certain cancers.
“Recent investigations have clarified that inflammation is a major factor for the progression of various chronic diseases/disorders, including cancer.
“Free radical productions from different biological and environmental sources are due to an imbalance of natural antioxidants which further leads to various inflammatory associated diseases. Obesity poses challenges in effective management of cancer.”
Furthermore, cancer survivors are at an increased risk of morbidity and mortality, not only from cancer, but from competing factors, such as the heart disease.
Data are beginning to emerge demonstrating a reduction in incidence in cancer and its recurrence with the treatment of obesity.
Obesity is known to cause several cancers, including cancers of colon, post-menopausal breast, uterus, pancreas, gall bladder, liver, esophagus and kidney.
There is a greater consciousness of the links between dietary and lifestyle modifications and cancer risk.
The workshop activity aimed to create an awareness campaign in preventing and initial screening of cancer and to update researchers and clinical staff about new research findings which will enhance the Oman’s research base and to reduce the increasing financial burden of cancer treatment.
The workshop had three unique features that made it distinctive: (1) Covered newly updated information in the field of nutrition and cancer, (2) Provided a comprehensive link between primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of different types of cancer, and (3) Combined basic science approaches with clinical practice.
The high rate of urbanisation and a steady increase in the per capita income, during the past years, has improved the socio-economic status of the people in the Sultanate of Oman; this has resulted in drastic changes in their lifestyle and food consumption patterns.
Traditional foods are being replaced with western-style ready-made foods, and the consumption of plants-based foods (fruits and vegetables) has decreased.
Dietary pattern that is characterised by low intake of antioxidants and vitamins B among Omani adults population has led to an increase in the prevalence cancer that will drain Oman’s human and financial resources, if appropriate strategies are not developed and introduced to the current healthcare system for the primary prevention of such chronic disease.
A source from the department of Non-communicable Diseases Control, Ministry of Health, suggested that over the next 25 years, the adults and elderly population of Oman will increase six-folds, and the urbanisation rate is expected to reach 86 per cent and more than 75 per cent of the disease burden in Oman is attributable to chronic diseases, with cancer as the leading cause of death.
Recent studies in Oman revealed that the incidence of some cancers increased compared to reports in previous years.
The incidence and mortality were higher in men than in women. Common cancers should be detected early using screening tests such as colonoscopy and mammography.
The tests can be especially useful in old age.
Additional studies should be performed to investigate the causes of cancer incidence and mortality.