Dr Kanika Batra Modi, Associate Consultant – Gynaecologic Oncology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket speaks on how changes in lifestyle has increased the risk of cancer
With changes in lifestyle, more and more younger women are being susceptible to breast cancer. One of the deadliest cancers among females, breast cancer accounts for over 7 per cent of females under the age of 40 years.
Attributing to the delay in diagnosis, many younger women ignore the warning signs such as breast lumps, or unusual nipple discharge. Many also believe themselves to be too young to get such complications or assume minor cysts to be harmless. In young women, breast cancer tends to be diagnosed in its later stages and is found to be more aggressive. Young women also have a higher mortality rate and higher risk of metastatic recurrence.
Inherited mutations in the genes accounts for around 10 per cent increased chances to pass on the cancerous genes, still 90 per cent of the cases are sporadic. The risk factor for both ovarian and breast cancer doubles in females if a female has been diagnosed with breast cancer within the age bracket of 40 years. The risk for developing cancer also increases if women under the age of 60 years have triple negative breast cancer, which are a type of breast cancer that lacks oestrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.
Though non-ionising radiations from cell phones and its towers have no proven evidence to cause cancer, many cancer society’s have raised concerns over its prolonged usage. Cell phones emit a form of energy known as radio frequency waves (RF) which doesn’t cause any direct damage but is known as a possible carcinogenic to humans, especially for brain tumours.
“It is a lesser known fact that men are also susceptible to breast cancer. The breast tissue in men is smaller than that in women, but the nature of the tissue in an adult male breast is like that of a breast of a girl before puberty. The reason of contention in male breast cancer is that they are diagnosed at a later stage compared to women due to a low index of suspicion. Also, because of the amount of tissue is less it makes it difficult to detect these cancers early and they also spread more quickly to the surrounding tissues. Moreover many recent researches have also suggested that a male is highly vulnerable to prostate cancer if he has a maternal heredity of breast cancer.” she added
Obesity has been associated with induction of a chronic inflammatory state in the body which can cause cancer by direct and indirect mechanisms. Various cancers that have been seen at an increased incidence like breast, endometrial, oesophageal, gall bladder, bowel, pancreatic, liver, kidney etc. the exact reasons are obscure.
Promiscuity is one of the vital causes considered for the development of cervical cancer among females. Primarily, it is caused by Human Papilloma Virus(HPV) association – the oncogenic strains in over 95 per cent cases of cervical cancer. Although, HPV is considered a necessary but not sufficient cause of cervical cancer. Most of the women develop an immune mechanism to clear out the viral load by developing antibodies. In a fraction of those affected, HPV incorporates within the genome and causes mutagenic transformation of the affected cells. So promiscuity doesn’t per say cause cervical cancer, but promotes HPV infection which has a direct association with cervical cancer.