Aastha Oncology Associates
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What causes cancer?
  No one knows for sure how a normal cell becomes a cancer cell. But scientists agree that people get cancer mainly through repeated or long-term contact with one or more cancer-causing agents...., called carcinogens. The carcinogens cause body cells to change their structures and to grow out of control.
Are there different kinds of cancer-causing agents?
  Yes. Scientists now believe most cancers are caused in two steps by two kinds of agents: initiator ,and promoters. Initiators start the damage to a cell that can lead to cancer. For example, cigarette smoking, X-rays, and cerL:'lin chemicals have been shown to be initiators. Promoters usually do not cause cancer by themselves. They change cells already damaged by an initiator from normal to cancer cells. For example, stud-ies show that alcohol promotes the development of cancers in the mouth, throat, and possibly the liver when combined with an initiator, such as tobacco.
What is a cancer risk factor?
  An agent that has been linked to the cause of a particular kind of cancer is called a risk factor. Contact with that agent increases an individual's likelihood (or risk} of getting that kind of cancer. Exposure to a particular risk factqr does not necessarily mean that you will get the dis- ease, but it does mean that the possibility that you might get cancer has increased. Risk fac- tors are described in sever always,

There are both "avoidable" and "unavoidable" risk factors. You can cut down or cut out your contact with avoidable risk factors, such as tobacco or alcohol. Unavoidable risk factors are those which you personally can-not control. For example, the risk of getting any type of cancer in- creases as you get older.

There are both "known" and "suspected" risk factors. A known risk factor is an agent that has been shown by either studies of human populations or by laboratory tests to be capable of producing cancer. A "sus-pected" risk factor is thought to produce cancer, although studies have not yet confirmed the link to cancer.
Is cancer curable?
  Yes. Of all the chronic diseases, cancer is the most curable. Today, nearly half of all cancer patients can be cured by modern treatment methods. Great advances have been made in our ability to prevent, detect, and
treat cancer.
Is cancer contagious?
  No. Cancer is not catching. It cannot be spread from person to person by sneezing, coughing, kissing, or in any other way.
Does my diet affect my chances of getting cancer?
  Studies suggest that certain foods' and some nutrients con¬tained in those foods may be associated with the development of cancer.
Findings suggest that a high intake of dietary fat is a risk factor for cancer.
Population studies indicate that obesity increases the risk of developing certain cancers.
Other studies suggest that some vitamins and dietary fiber may help protect you from developing some forms of cancer.
  Current evidence suggests that by choosing carefully and eating a well-balanced diet, you may reduce your cancer risk. For a well-balanced diet:
Eat a variety of foods every day. Include fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those high in vitamins A and C. such as oranges, grapefruit, nectarines, peaches, strawber¬ries, cantaloupe. and honeydew melons. Choose leafy green and yellow-orange. vegetables like spinach, kale, sweet pota¬toes, and carrots, as well as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
  Keep your intake of all fats low, both saturated and unsaturated fats. Choose lean red meats, fish. and poultry. Trim fat from steaks, roasts, and chops, and skin poultry before cooking.1:ry broiling, roasting or baking meats and fish, or simmering them in their own juices, rather than frying them. Limit your use of butter, margarine, cream, shortening, and vegetable oils. Avoid hidden fats in salad dressings and snack foods like potato chips. Choose low fat or skim milk, low fat cheeses, and dairy desserts. Choose fruit instead of high fat desserts.

Eat foods with fiber, such as whole grain breads and cereals; a variety of raw fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten with the skin; beans, peas, and seeds.

A well-balanced diet will help keep you from being either over or underweight. You can lose weight by increasing your phys¬ical activity, eating smaller por¬tions of food, eating less sugar and sweets, and limiting your consumption of alcoholic drinks to 1 or 2 drinks per day.

Do vitamins change my cancer risks?
  Scientists have found some rela¬tionship between a lack of certain vitamins-A and C-and cancer. For example, diets low in vitamin A have been linked to .. cancers of the prostate gland, cer¬vix, skin, bladder, and colon.
On the other hand, studies indi¬cate that vitamin A and vitamin C may help protect the body from some types of cancer. You can get all the vitamins A and C
your body can use if you choose two helpings daily from the same fruits and vegetables that are in a balanced diet-dark green vegetables, yellow-orange vegetables, and yellow-orange fruits.
Does drinking alcohol cause cancer?
  Excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages have been linked to a number of cancers. Heavy drink¬ing is associated with cancers of the mouth, throat, esophag1.ls, and liver. People who both smoke. cigarettes and drink have a higher risk of getting cancers of the mouth and the esophagus.
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