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Lifestyle choices and pollution fueling cancer in young Indians: experts

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A concerning rise in cancer cases among Indians under 40 years old is being driven by poor lifestyle choices and environmental factors, according to medical experts.

Doctors have pointed to the increased consumption of ultra-processed foods, tobacco, and alcohol, coupled with sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and stress as primary contributors to this trend.

Environmental pollution also plays a significant role. High levels of air and water pollution in Indian cities expose individuals to carcinogenic substances, heightening their cancer risk.

"Ultra-processed foods and sedentary lifestyles are major contributors to the rising cancer rates among young Indians," stated Dr. Rahul Bhargava, Director and Head of the Department of Hematology and BMT at Fortis Memorial Research Institute. He emphasized the need for healthier dietary habits and increased physical activity to combat this health crisis, reported NDTV.

A recent study by the Delhi-based non-profit Cancer Mukt Bharat Foundation revealed that 20% of cancer cases in India are now diagnosed in people below the age of 40. The study also noted a gender disparity, with men constituting 60% of these young cancer patients, likely due to higher rates of tobacco use, occupational exposure, and lifestyle choices.

Dr. Ashish Gupta, principal investigator and senior oncologist at Unique Hospital Cancer Center in Delhi, highlighted the role of escalating obesity rates and dietary changes in increasing cancer rates. He stressed the urgent need for lifestyle interventions to address this alarming trend, said the NDTV report.

Dr. Gupta, who also leads the Cancer Mukt Bharat Campaign, called for a coordinated effort involving the government, healthcare professionals, and the community. He advocated for policies promoting clean air and water, regular physical activity, and access to nutritious food. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of investing in healthcare infrastructure to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

To curb the rising cancer rates among young adults in India, experts underscore the necessity of adopting healthier lifestyles and addressing environmental pollution, reinforcing the call for a comprehensive approach to public health.

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