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Cancer rates spiral in Ladakh due to UV rays, sedentary lifestyle

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The rough terrain, the snow-capped peaks, the winding roads and monasteries – the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir is the abode of nature’s raw and untouched beauty. The region might be a haven for adventure travellers, but all is not well for the local residents.
The high altitude, exposure to excessive ultraviolet (UV) rays, lack of oxygen and the sedentary lifestyle of the locals are leading to a rise in cancer cases, particularly gastrointestinal (GI) and of the skin, according to medical experts from New Delhi’s premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Twenty-four of the experts attended a five-day medical camp organised here by Ashoka Mission and SNM Hospital that focused on providing free medical aid to the people of the Leh and Kargil belt, especially those living in far off villages and belonging to financially poor backgrounds. The camp – now in its 25th year – saw more than 2,700 patients attending and getting examined.
“Out of 100 patients, 60-65 cases are of GI cancer. Unfortunately, in this belt there is no proper record or data of cases of cancer. The only numbers we get are from the hospital,” Dr Atul Sharma, Oncologist at the Dr. B.R.A Institute-Rotary Cancer Hospital (BIRCH) at AIIMS, told this visiting IANS correspondent.
Dr Sharma said the rise in GI cancer is mostly because of the unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle which includes consumption of stored meat and hot beverages.
“To keep their body warm, especially during the harsh winter, the people consume meat which has usually been stored for long periods. Also consumption of too many hot beverages, smoking and drinking further escalate the causes of GI cancer,” Dr Sharma added.
“Liver cancer from Hepatitis B is also a concern in this belt. There have been few cases which has come up and we are doing further research on the reasons behind it,” he added.
GI cancer, according to the doctor, is found to be more common in men aged above 40. Women who have undergone menopause have also been found to be prone, along with cervical and breast cancer.
“People are not aware of the early symptoms. There is a major lack of awareness in the region. 90% of the cases that came to me were in advanced stages. There is not much access to cancer treatment and even the proper drugs are not available,” Dr Sharma noted.
According to the oncologist, there are chances of the GI cancer rate going up in the coming years, but periodical endoscopy and early chemotherapy might help control the rise. Dr Kaushal K. Verma, a Dermatologist at AIIMS, stated that workers exposed to too much sunlight are also at higher risk of contracting skin cancer.
“The ultraviolet rays are too strong here. Even if the locals are properly covered or use umbrellas, it wont work much here,” he commented.
Dr Verma noted that the early symptoms of skin cancer are small patches which are mostly ignored.
“People don’t take these marks seriously because they are usually small in size. Also, it often becomes difficult for an individual to distinguish between normal skin disease and the cancer mark,” he added.
Not just exposure to the environment, Dr Verma cited food habits, vitamin deficiency and even pollution in the belt as reasons for the rise in skin cancer cases.
“If skin cancer is not treated at an early stage, it can be life threatening. Women in the belt are more into outdoor activities than men, so they face the danger of getting diagnosed with skin cancer, especially after the age of 40,” he said.
Apart from skin cancer, Dr Verma said locals are also at high risk in terms of several other skin problems like eczema and facial pigmentation, which are often difficult to treat as well.
“Most of the year it is extremely cold and dry. And when it is sunny, the rays are very strong — enough to damage the skin. This escalates skin problems,” he noted.
(Courtesy: Hindustan Times)


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Health

5 Foods That Will Detoxify Your Lungs And Heal Them Naturally

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Are you a chain smoker? Do you live in a polluted area? Our lungs are a vital organ and the most ignored organ of our body. It is through them that we breathe.

Consequently our lungs are also sucking in harmful elements from the air around us. They are exposed to harmful pollutants and microbes that get deposited from the air we inhale. For people who smoke, their healthy lungs turn black with the deposition of tar in their lungs. Regular detoxification of lungs will help in smooth functioning and help in expulsion of toxins. Thus it is important that we choose healthy foods to cleanse our lungs, so as to reduce common lung diseases and respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and cystic fibrosis.

Some foods which are great for good lung health are listed below:

 

1. Garlic: The anti-inflammatory properties along with a high level of allicin helps to fight infections and reduces inflammation. Garlic has also been considered by many as being an effective remedy in improving asthma and can help to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

2. Apples: An apple is healthy, loaded with nutrients, high energy, high fiber, low calorie food. Its flavonoids and the wide variety of vitamins, and antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, helps us to maintain a strong immune system and a healthy respiratory system. When we have healthy respiratory functions, we can fight off lung diseases and prevent them naturally.

3. Ginger: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties ginger will help to clear your lungs naturally. You can add ginger to various dishes as it is a widely used herb. Also you can add it in your morning tea.You can also use it to prepare ginger tea blended with some lemon in it. This is beneficial to remove toxins from the respiratory tract.

4. Green tea: Drink a cup of your favourite herbal green tea before going to bed to release toxins in the intestine that can lead to constipation or other stomach ailments. You should refrain from overloading your lungs with tedious work during this purification process.

5. Lentils: In order to optimize the oxygen transportation faculties of the lungs, healthy hemoglobin levels are absolutely critical. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule that is found in red blood cells and aids in transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue. As an added benefit, hemoglobin stimulates the internal processes that returns carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled from the body. Black beans, cow peas, dried peas, lentils, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and soybeans are some foods containing properties that raise hemoglobin levels. Additionally, supplement beans and lentils with vitamin-C rich foods to maximize iron absorption.

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Fasting may help keep age-related diseases at bay: Study

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Fasting can boost the body’s metabolism and help protect against age-related diseases, a study has found. The circadian clock operates within the body and its organs as intrinsic time-keeping machinery to preserve homeostasis in response to the changing environment. While food is known to influence clocks in peripheral tissues, it was unclear, until now, how the lack of food influences clock function and ultimately affects the body.

“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, a professor at the University of California, Irvine in the US. “Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver,” said Sassone-Corsi.

The research, published in the journal Cell Reports, was conducted using mice, which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting. While fasting, researchers noted the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.

 

“The reorganisation of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression,” he said. “In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against ageing-associated diseases,” said Sassone-Corsi.

The study opens new avenues of investigation that could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.

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High-fibre diet lowers risk of death, non-communicable diseases: Lancet

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Eating up to 30 grams of naturally-occurring dietary fibre — such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits — daily may prevent the risks of developing non-communicable diseases, finds a review of studies published in the journal The Lancet.

The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality; and reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.

Increasing fibre intake is associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intake or synthetic and extracted fibre.

 

“Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases,” said Professor Jim Mann, from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

“Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels.

“The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer,” Mann said.

Protection against stroke, and breast cancer also increased. Consuming 25-29 grams each day was adequate but the data suggest that higher intakes of dietary fibre could provide even greater protection.

The researchers included 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials involving 4,635 adult participants.

The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against Type 2 diabetes and stroke only.

Foods with a low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load may also contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

However, high intakes might have ill-effects for people with low iron or mineral levels for whom high levels of whole grains can further reduce iron levels, the researchers noted.

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