The number of patients being diagnosed with cancer has been progressively increasing for the past several years. Cancer is found among the top five causes of morbidity and mortality in the Philippines.
There is a stigma attached to patients who are diagnosed with cancer. People automatically think that a diagnosis of cancer is equivalent to being sentenced to die soon even if some patients have better prognoses than patients who have moderate to severe forms of heart disease. People experience fear just by hearing the word cancer.
Cancer is no longer a death sentence. However, the psychological impact of being diagnosed with cancer can still be devastating. Having to go through the long period of treatment can be traumatic and can exert its toll on the physical, social, emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial well-being of the patient and family.
Much of the focus on cancer (and most of the common diseases) now has been on treating the cancer after it is diagnosed. Considerable efforts have also been placed on early detection. However, so much more emphasis should be given to raise awareness about CANCER PREVENTION through changes in lifestyle and we, physicians and patients, should pay very close attention and take the matter more seriously.
Answer the following questions to give you an idea of how detrimental our lifestyles are
- Do your meals consist mainly of processed carbs (white rice, white bread, white flour) and protein (chicken, fish, beef or pork) without vegetables or only traces of vegetables serving as garnish?
- Do you lack recommended servings (5 or more) of fruits and vegetables in your diet?
- Do you consume a lot of cured or smoked meats or fish?
- Do you consume a lot of sugar on a regular basis?
- Do you live a sedentary lifestyle without any form of exercise or only very occasionally?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you consume more than 1 serving of alcohol per day for women, more than 2 servings for men?
- Is your diet very high in fat or fried foods?
- Are you sexually promiscuous especially without protection?
- Are you always stressed out and harbor a lot of negative emotions?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you stay under the sun for long periods without protection?
- Do you have a family history of cancer?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions then perhaps you need to seriously consider about changing paradigms.