FAQ'S

No, in fact pain is very uncommon symptom of cancer. Whether a patient has pain may depend on the type of cancer, the extent of the disease, and the patient’s tolerance for pain. Most pain occurs when the cancer grows and presses against bones, organs, or nerves. Pain may also be a side effect of treatment. However, pain can generally be relieved or reduced with prescription medicines or over-the-counter drugs recommended by the doctor.

Microorganism Related cancer
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus Liver cancer
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Cervical cancer, Penile cancer, Head and Neck Cancers
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Kaposi sarcoma, Ca cervix
Helicobacter pylori Stomach cancer
Schistosomiasis Bladder cancer
Human T-lymphotropic virus Type I (HTLV-1) T-cell leukemia and T-cell lymphoma

Cancer is caused by changes in genes that normally control the growth and death of cells. Certain lifestyle and environmental factors can change some normal genes into genes that allow the growth of cancer. Many gene changes that lead to cancer are the result of tobacco use, diet, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, or exposure to carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) in the workplace or in the environment. Some gene alterations are inherited (from one or both parents). However, having an inherited gene alteration does not always mean that the person will develop cancer; it only means that the chance of getting cancer is increased. Scientists continue to examine the factors that may increase or decrease a person’s chance of developing cancer.

  • Genetic predisposition: A positive family history increases the risk of breast cancer in first line relatives (mother, sister, or daughter). The risk is dependent upon whether the cancer is bilateral and whether it has occurred in the pre- or postmenopausal period.
  • Hormonal factors: Hormone regulation is important in the development of breast cancer. Early pregnancy and early oophorectomy (Removal of ovaries) lower the incidence of breast neoplasm. In contrast, late menopause is associated with an increase in the incidence of breast cancer.
  • Oral contraceptives: A small increase in the risk of breast cancer has been noted in users of oral contraceptives. This risk, however, drops following the cessation of contraceptive use so that, at ten years post-use, there is no significant increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. Use of oral contraceptives at an older age has also been linked to an increase in the number of breast cancer cases diagnosed.
  • Hormone therapy for menopause: Current and recent users of hormone replacement therapy are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who have never used hormone therapy. The risk increases with duration of hormone use, while it decreases significantly following cessation of the therapy.
  • Environmental factors:The primary environmental factor that has been shown to have a direct link with breast cancer is ionizing radiation.
  • Sociobiological factors: Age and gender, diet and weight are risk factors for developing breast cancer.
    • Worldwide, 75% of new cases and 84% of breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older.
    • Consumption of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, while dietary intake of fat seems to increase the risk.
    • In postmenopausal women, obesity increases the risk of breast cancer. This association is not observed in premenopausal women.
  • Physiological factors: Physical activity levels can have an impact on the risk of breast cancer. Although data in this area is not entirely consistent, moderate physical activity is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown a 30% reduction in risk level associated with a few hours per week of vigorous activity compared to no exercise at all.

However, in 70% of breast cancer patients no risk factors can be identified.

Regular consumption of excessively spicy diet, chillies, eating very hot food or drinking hot tea/coffee, excessive intake of fried food, eating dried or smoked fish, eating the food which contains preservatives, artificial flavouring agents, colouring agents, eating excessive fatty food are known to increase the risk of cancer.

Yes, alcohol is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Consumption of alcohol increases the risk of numerous cancers, including those of the liver, esophagus, pharynx, oral cavity, larynx, breast, colon and rectum in a dose-dependent fashion. Evidence is convincing that excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of primary liver cancer, probably through cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis. About 75% of cancers of the esophagus, pharynx, oral cavity, and larynx are attributable to alcohol and tobacco, with a marked increase in risk among drinkers who also smoke, suggesting a multiplicative effect. Mechanisms may include direct damage to the cells in the upper gastrointestinal tract, modulation of DNA methylation, which affects susceptibility to DNA mutations, and an increase in acetaldehyde, the main metabolite of alcohol, which enhances proliferation of epithelial cells, forms DNA adducts, and is a recognized carcinogen. The association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer is notable because a small but significant risk has been found even with one drink per day. Mechanisms may include an interaction with folate, an increase in endogenous estrogen levels, and elevation of acetaldehyde. Notably, for most cancer sites, no important difference in associations was found with the type of alcoholic beverage, suggesting a critical role of ethanol in carcinogenesis.

Yes, regular consumption of red meat has been associated with an increased risk of cancer; specially the colorectal cancer. The association is strongest for processed meat. Few studies have also underlined the association of red meat consumption and breast cancer (specially in pre-menopausal women). Mechanisms through which red meat may increase cancer risk include anabolic hormones routinely used in meat production, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons formed during cooking at high temperatures, the high amounts of heme iron, and nitrates and related compounds in smoked, salted, and some processed meats that can convert to carcinogenic nitrosamines in the colon.

The role of soy products has been considered for breast carcinogenesis. In Asian countries, which traditionally have a high consumption of soy foods, breast cancer rates have been low until recently. Soybeans contain isoflavones, phytoestrogens that compete with estrogen for the estrogen receptor. Hence, soy consumption may affect estrogen concentrations differently depending on the endogenous baseline level. This mechanism may also contribute to the equivocal results of studies on soy foods and breast cancer risk. Childhood intake of soy was more relevant to breast cancer prevention than adult consumption.

Faulty genes that run in some families may cause a small number of cancers. Cancer can be hereditary in 5% to 10% of cases. Cancers which may be hereditary are breast, ovary, colon, leukemias. A sign that cancer MAY be hereditary within family is when several members of the same side of a family have had the same type of cancer (e.g. they’ve all had breast cancer), especially if some have developed it at a younger than usual age.

Cancer may run in families even due to non-genetic factors. The family members may have exposure to common cancer causing factors like faulty dietary habits, addictions, common environmental factors, etc.

Yes, overweight and inactivity are major contributors to cancer risk. Various studies indicate that obese individuals have substantially higher mortality from all cancers and in particular from colorectal cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, pancreatic cancer, and gall bladder cancer than their normal-weight counterparts. Adiposity and in particular waist circumference are predictors of colon cancer incidence among women and men. Weight gain of 10 kg or more is associated with a significant increase in postmenopausal breast cancer incidence among women who never used hormone replacement therapy, while weight loss of comparable magnitude after menopause substantially decreases breast cancer risk.

The mechanisms whereby adiposity increases risk of various cancers are probably multiple. Overweight is strongly associated with endogenous estrogen levels, which likely are related to the excess risks of endometrial and breast cancers. The reasons for the associations with other cancers are less clear, but excess body fat is also related to higher levels of insulin, lower levels of binding proteins for sex hormones and insulin-like growth factor 1(IFG-1), and higher levels of various inflammatory factors, all of which have been hypothesized to be related to risks of various cancers.

Summary of the Strength of Epidemiologic Evidence for Association between Physical Activity or Obesity and Cancer Risk, by Organ Site
Physical Activity Overweight/Obesity
Breast, postmenopausal +++ +++
Colon +++ +++
Endometrium + +++
Esophagus, adenocarcinoma ? +++
Kidney, renal cell carcinoma ? +++
Pancreas ? ++
Gallbladder ? ++
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma ? +
Prostate, aggressive ++ +
Lung + ?
Ovary ? ?
+++, evidence is convincing; ++, evidence is probable; +, evidence is possible; ?, evidence remains insufficient and inconclusive.
  • Controls blood pressure
  • Controls diabetes
  • Reduces risk of heart attack
  • Reduces risk of cancer, specially colon and breast cancer
  • Regularizes bowel movements and avoids constipation
  • Helps avoid anxiety and depression
  • Minimizes risk of joint problems
  • Prevents osteoporosis
  • Leads to better body balance
  • Facilitates recovery from injury and diseases
  • Improves quality of life

Yes, chronic or long standing infection with some microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoa) is known to cause cancer. For example:

Microorganism Related cancer
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus Liver cancer
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Cervical cancer, Penile cancer, Head and Neck Cancers
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Kaposi sarcoma, Ca cervix
Helicobacter pylori Stomach cancer
Schistosomiasis Bladder cancer
Human T-lymphotropic virus Type I (HTLV-1) T-cell leukemia and T-cell lymphoma

The etiology of breast cancer is not fully understood. A variety of interrelated factors can influence its development. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition: A positive family history increases the risk of breast cancer in first-line relatives (mother, sister, or daughter). The risk is dependent upon whether the cancer is bilateral and whether it has occurred in the pre- or postmenopausal period.
  • Hormonal factors: Hormone regulation is important in the development of breast cancer. Early pregnancy and early oophorectomy (Removal of ovaries) lower the incidence of breast neoplasm. In contrast, late menopause is associated with an increase in the incidence of breast cancer.
  • Oral contraceptives: A small increase in the risk of breast cancer has been noted in users of oral contraceptives. This risk, however, drops following the cessation of contraceptive use so that, at ten years post-use, there is no significant increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. Use of oral contraceptives at an older age has also been linked to an increase in the number of breast cancer cases diagnosed.
  • Hormone therapy for menopause: Current and recent users of hormone replacement therapy are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who have never used hormone therapy. The risk increases with duration of hormone use, while it decreases significantly following cessation of the therapy.
  • Environmental factors:The primary environmental factor that has been shown to have a direct link with breast cancer is ionizing radiation.
  • Sociobiological factors: Age and gender, diet and weight are risk factors for developing breast cancer.
    • Worldwide, 75% of new cases and 84% of breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older.
    • Consumption of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, while dietary intake of fat seems to increase the risk.
    • In postmenopausal women, obesity increases the risk of breast cancer. This association is not observed in premenopausal women.
  • Physiological factors: Physical activity levels can have an impact on the risk of breast cancer. Although data in this area is not entirely consistent, moderate physical activity is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown a 30% reduction in risk level associated with a few hours per week of vigorous activity compared to no exercise at all.
  • Other risk factors:These include proliferative breast disorders, which are also associated with breast cancer development, especially if the biopsy shows a typical hyperplasia.

However, in 70% of breast cancer patients no risk factors can be identified.