Wednesday February 20, 2019

Alcohol dependency leads to cancer in myriad forms

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London:High alcohol consumption will lead to varied forms of cancers among heavy drinkers, especially, in low-income countries like India, researchers have warned.

Picture credit: wearechange.org
Picture credit: wearechange.org

The new study of alcohol use in countries of all-income levels, including low-income nations like India and Zimbabwe, shows that alcohol dependence increases the risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury with no reduction in risk of mortality or in cardiovascular diseases overall.

The data came from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, a prospective cohort study of individuals aged 35-70 years.

The high-income countries were Sweden and Canada; upper-middle-income countries were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, South Africa and Turkey; lower-middle-income countries were China and Colombia; and were India and Zimbabwe.

The research, published in The Lancet journal, included 114,970 adults, of whom 28,813 people (25 per cent) were from low-income countries.

Current drinking was associated with a 51 per cent increased risk of alcohol-related cancers of mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, breast, ovary, and head and neck. A 29 per cent increased risk of injury in current drinkers has been witnessed.

Although current drinking was associated with a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart attack, there was no reduction in risk of mortality or stroke.

High alcohol intake and heavy episodic drinking were both associated with significant increases in risk of overall mortality.

For higher-income countries, current drinking was associated with a 16 per cent reduced risk of combined disease outcome, while for lower-income countries, current drinking was associated with a 38 per cent increased risk.

“The world needs better health strategies to reduce harmful alcohol use especially in low-income countries like India,” the authors noted.

“Because alcohol consumption is increasing in many countries, especially in low-income countries, the importance of alcohol as a risk factor for disease might be underestimated. Therefore, global strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol are essential,” explained Dr Salim Yusuf, president of the World Heart Federation.

According to a leading author, Dr Andrew Smyth from the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Canada, “the data support the call to increase global awareness of the importance of harmful use of alcohol and the need to further identify and target the modifiable determinants of harmful alcohol use”.

(IANS)

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

Also Read- Push-ups Can Lower The Risk of Heart Diseases

Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)