Increasing gap between menarche (first menstrual period) and first full term pregnancy is one of the main causes of growing incidence of breast cancer among women in the state, said Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) surgical oncology additional professor Dr Paul Augustine.

Speaking at the programme 'Cancer patient and his family’ organised at RCC as part of World Cancer Day on Saturday Dr Augustine said that at RCC one out of every three cancer cases among women was breast cancer.

"Breast cancer is also the most common form of cancer found among women across the world. Lack of breast feeding and genetic predisposition is other major risk factors of breast cancer,’’ Dr Augstine said.

He said that regular screening and awareness on breast cancer was of crucial importance when it comes to dealing with breast cancer. He said that often it was not lack of money but lack of awareness that posed a major impediment for successful treatment of cancer.

"Ignorance among patients and to some extent among doctors is the main issue when it comes to treatment of cancer in our state. Treating cancer is a team work. A timely diagnosis is crucial. So is having a good doctor or surgeon,’’ Dr Augustine said.

The main reason of lung cancer, the most common form of cancer in the world, is tobacco which is also the single largest preventable cause of cancer. Among 45 percent of cancer found among men is caused due to the use of tobacco or tobacco products. Infections, pollutions, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and genetic pre-disposition are the other main causes of cancer.

Dr Augustine said that 10 percent of world’s cancer patients were in India while in Kerala around 35,000 to 40,000 new cancer cases were reported every year. He also talked about other common forms of cancer and warning signs of cancer.

Former Psychology professor and head of Kerala University Dr Krishna Prasad Sreedhar and RCC Chief Nursing Officer R. Sreelekha led sessions at the programme titled `Cancer patient.

Talking on the subject 'Counselling for cancer’ Dr Sreedhar said that hope was the most important thing needed to overcome any disease, including cancer. "Equally important is mental strength and courage. Disorders like this occur when people try to suppress negative feelings like anger, hatred and grief. Prolonged emotional stress one of the major causes for diseases,’’ he said.

Mr Sreedhar added that yoga, meditation, massage and other relaxation techniques help in lowering stress and incidence of diseases.

In her session 'Home care for patients’ Ms Sreelekha said that personal hygiene and emotional support was most important while taking care of patients at home. "Strict and healthy diet and cautions to keep away from infections is also pertinent,’’ she said.

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