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Preventing cancer requires a major lifestyle change

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MUSCAT: Cancer cases have assumed an alarming proportion in the Sultanate of Oman. In the latest survey, the department of non-communicable diseases, Directorate General of Primary Healthcare, revealed that cancer cases in 2019 stood at 2,089 among Omanis, an increase of 77 cases from 2018.

The survey also showed that cases among women were higher compared to men.

The survey called for awareness among people about the reasons that cause cancer, and preventive measures to control it at the right stage.

The risk of developing cancer is higher if there is a family history of the disease. Still, some measures may lower this risk, according to Dr. Saleh al Hinai, Senior Consultant, Family Medicine Physician.

Global cancer incidence is expected to increase substantially over the following decades. This trend is very much driven by a rise in lifestyle-related cancers due to economic and demographic transitions worldwide.

So how do people lower the chances of getting cancer?

Through his social media platforms, Dr Al Hinai encourages people to follow basic guidelines to lower cancer risk.

He calls to avoid smoking as cigarette smoke can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body. Cigarette smoking causes cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, voicebox (larynx), trachea, bronchus, kidney and renal pelvis, urinary bladder, and cervix, and causes acute myeloid leukemia.

Consumption of alcohol is one of the most important factors that cause cancer. Similar is the case with tobacco use and excess body weight.

Heavy alcohol consumption may cause liver, breast, colorectal, esophageal, and head and neck cancer.

Cancer can develop slowly over time, and some types may not show symptoms until advanced stages.

Preventative cancer screenings are used to find cancer in people with no symptoms, offering the best chance of finding it early, before it spreads.

"At age 45, it's recommended women start annual mammograms test to avoid breast cancer.

Colon cancer screenings should also begin at the age of 45 for both men and women. That's when treatment is most likely to succeed.", he said.

You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices like keeping a healthy weight and being physically active, protecting your skin, limiting the consumption of processed meats, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

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