Preventive Oncology Service in India

What is Preventive Oncology?

Preventive oncology is a specialized field focused on measures to reduce cancer incidence and death. Measures include lifestyle modifications like maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption, and routine cancer screenings. Preventive oncology reduces cancer risk by detecting risk factors early and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Cancer-Causing Risk Factors

Certain factors increase one’s chance of developing cancer. Certain factors are lifestyle-related and are modifiable, while some risk factors are non-lifestyle-related and are not modifiable. The discipline of preventive oncology primarily deals with identifying the different lifestyle-related risk factors and identifying measures to mitigate the cancer risk associated with those factors. The following are some of the most common cancer-causing risk factors:

Tobacco Consumption and Smoking

Tobacco consumption, mainly smoking, is one of the biggest risk factors for cancer development. Tobacco contains several carcinogens that damage DNA, which causes the cells in the body to undergo uncontrolled division and form tumors. Smoking is reported to cause at least 15 types of cancer, including those of the lungs, bladder, colon, rectum, esophagus, kidney, liver, mouth, throat, and esophagus.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive drinking is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer, including those of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, breast, and colon. Alcohol can damage DNA, interfere with hormone regulation, and weaken the immune system, which may result in cancer.

A Sedentary Lifestyle Without Any Exercise

Lack of physical activity can cause obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation, and disrupted hormone levels that may lead to cancer development. A sedentary lifestyle elevates the risk of various types of cancer, including endometrial, breast, and colorectal cancers.

High Fat and Red Meat Diet Without Any Vegetables And Fruits

A diet low in vegetables and fruits and high in red meat and processed foods can contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress. If left unmanaged, these factors can lead to the development of various types of cancer.

Exposure to Radiation

Exposure to ionizing radiation increases cancer risk through medical imaging procedures (X-rays, CT scans), radiation therapy, and environmental sources (radon, UV radiation). Radiation damages DNA, leading to mutations that can cause cancer.

Environmental Factors

Certain environmental factors may also be associated with increased cancer risk. Exposure to carcinogens in air, water, soil, and food, such as industrial pollutants, pesticides, and asbestos, can increase cancer risk. The other risk factors for cancer include the contamination of potable water with different carcinogens and the inhalation of polluted air produced by vehicles. Second-hand tobacco smoking is also a risk factor for cancer.

Levels of Cancer Prevention

Cancer prevention refers to a series of strategies that help one reduce overall cancer risk, catch different types of cancer in the early stages, delay disease progression, and reduce complications in the event of a cancer diagnosis. The following are the different levels of cancer prevention:

Primary Cancer Prevention

Primary cancer prevention strategies involve identifying factors that increase the risk of cancer and devising measures that help reduce the risk of cancer development. It includes modifications in lifestyle to prevent cancer, like maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, protecting against UV radiation, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and reducing exposure to environmental carcinogens.

Secondary Cancer Prevention

Secondary cancer prevention involves early detection and intervention to treat cancer in its early stages. It includes cancer screening tests such as mammograms, colonoscopies, Pap smears, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests.

Tertiary Cancer Prevention

Tertiary cancer prevention focuses on improving the quality of life and reducing complications for individuals diagnosed with cancer. It includes treatments to prevent cancer recurrence, manage symptoms and side effects, and support overall health.

Services by HCG Preventive Oncology Clinic

The following are the services offered by the HCG Preventive Oncology Clinic:

Cancer Screening

Cancer screening involves testing individuals who do not show symptoms for early cancer detection. Common screenings include colonoscopies (colorectal cancer), mammograms (breast cancer), Pap smears (cervical cancer), and PSA tests (prostate cancer).

Tobacco and Alcohol Cessation Clinic

A Tobacco and Alcohol Cessation Clinic provides support for individuals who desire to quit smoking or reduce alcohol consumption. These clinics offer personalized counseling, behavioral therapy, medication management, and educational materials to help individuals overcome addiction and maintain long-term abstinence.

Obesity Clinic

The Obesity Clinic at HCG focuses on managing obesity to reduce the risk of cancer development and recurrence. This clinic offers comprehensive assessments, personalized weight management plans, dietary counseling, exercise programs, and behavioral interventions according to the needs of the individual.

Cancer Prevention through Vaccination

Cancer prevention through vaccination involves immunizing against certain viruses that tend to increase the risk of certain cancers through chronic infection. For example, the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine can protect against several HPV strains that are found to increase the risk of cervical, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers. Similarly, the hepatitis B vaccine can help prevent liver cancer.

Counselling on Lifestyle Modification

Counseling on lifestyle modification for cancer prevention involves a customized approach to help individuals adopt healthier habits to lower their risk of developing cancer. This counseling involves various aspects, including diet, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, sun exposure, and stress management.


Research on cancer prevention encompasses a wide range of studies aimed at understanding the underlying causes of cancer, identifying risk factors, developing preventive strategies, and evaluating their effectiveness. This research includes epidemiological studies to identify associations between lifestyle factors, environmental exposures, genetic predispositions, and cancer risk.

Neo-preventive Strategies

Neo-preventive strategies for cancer involve innovative approaches that reduce the risk of cancer development or its progression. These approaches include precision medicine, targeted therapies, immunoprevention, epigenetic modulation, microbiome manipulation, chemoprevention, lifestyle interventions, and prevention through artificial intelligence.

How to Choose a Preventive Oncologist?

The following are some of the tips that assist in choosing a preventative oncologist:

Choose a doctor with experience in preventive oncology

When selecting a doctor for preventive oncology consultation, consider seeking someone who specializes in oncology or cancer prevention. Look for doctors with specific training or certifications in preventive medicine for cancer or related fields.

Speak to the doctor or his staff about the number of patients treated

By asking certain questions, such as the number of patients who have benefited from their preventive oncology program, one may receive detailed information about the doctor's experience and approach to preventive oncology.

Know about the team in detail

Individuals seeking services from a preventive oncology specialist should inquire about the preventive oncology team at the center. The team usually comprises an oncologist, preventive medicine specialist, genetic counselor, dietitian or nutritionist, physical therapist, psychologists, radiologists and pathologists, and support staff. The team works collaboratively to offer comprehensive care to individuals.

Ask about the patient facilities and special services at the clinic

One must ask about the patient facilities and special services available at the preventive clinic, such as comprehensive risk assessment, personalized prevention plans, nutritional counseling, psychological support services, and education workshops.

Schedule an appointment

Once the clinic in which the individual decides to seek preventive oncology consultations and services has been identified, they should contact them by phone or email to inquire about the procedure for booking an appointment. Hospitals or clinics will have facilities for pre-booking and walk-in appointments. While booking appointments, the care officers at the hospital may ask for basic information, including name, age, and relevant medical history. Upon receiving the basic details, the hospital will schedule an appointment, and the date and time of choice based on the doctor's availability will be shared.

Preventive Oncology Department at HCG Cancer Centres

Our preventive oncology specialists across the network have vast experience in devising cancer prevention strategies that help reduce the risk of various types of cancer. The preventive oncology clinics in the different hospitals in the HCG network provide a wide array of services to help individuals with cancer prevention and early detection.

HCG Cancer Centre, Bangalore

HCG Cancer Centre, a well-known cancer speciality hospital in Bangalore, has a full-fledged preventive oncology clinic where specialists help healthy individuals reduce their cancer risk through carefully devised cancer prevention strategies.

  • Screening tests for various cancers
  • Tobacco and alcohol cessation programs
  • Obesity management
  • Vaccination programs for the prevention of certain cancers
  • Counseling on lifestyle modification
  • Clinical research

HCG Cancer Centre, Ahmedabad

As a top hospital for cancer treatment in Ahmedabad, HCG Cancer Centre has a dedicated department for the discipline of preventive oncology, which boasts experts who specialize in guiding healthy individuals to reduce their overall cancer risk and help them live long and healthy lives.

  • Screening tests for various cancers
  • Tobacco and alcohol cessation programs
  • Obesity management
  • Vaccination programs for the prevention of certain cancers
  • Counseling on lifestyle modification
  • Clinical research

HCG Cancer Centre, Mumbai

HCG Cancer Centre, a leading oncology hospital in Mumbai, offers comprehensive preventive oncology solutions, which include screening, counseling, lifestyle modifications, and more. Experts here chart personalized cancer prevention strategies that help individuals reduce their cancer risk and improve their overall well-being.

  • Screening tests for various cancers
  • Tobacco and alcohol cessation programs
  • Obesity management
  • Vaccination programs for the prevention of certain cancers
  • Counseling on lifestyle modification
  • Clinical research

HCG EKO Cancer Centre, Kolkata

HCG EKO Cancer Centre, a reputed cancer institute in Kolkata, helps healthy individuals reduce their cancer risk with individualized cancer prevention strategies, which may include screening, lifestyle modifications, counseling, vaccinations, etc.

  • Screening tests for various cancers
  • Tobacco and alcohol cessation programs
  • Obesity management
  • Vaccination programs for the prevention of certain cancers
  • Counseling on lifestyle modification
  • Clinical research

Why Choose HCG for Preventive Oncology?

As a leading cancer hospital in India, HCG provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive, and customized diagnostic and treatment services related to cancer. The hospital also has a dedicated preventive oncology clinic. The clinic offers comprehensive care, specialized services, and support to reduce cancer risk, especially for high-risk patients. The patients can access various resources related to reducing cancer risk. The team at the preventive oncology clinic at the HCG Cancer Hospital has experienced preventive medicine specialists, oncologists, genetic counselors, psychologists, and support staff to provide customized services to every individual.

Frequently Asked Questions

Early detection involves catching cancer in its earliest stages, often before symptoms develop, enabling timely intervention and improved treatment outcomes.

Yes, cancers can go undetected for years, especially in the early stages when symptoms may be absent, highlighting the importance of regular screenings.

Whole-body MRI can help detect certain cancers, but its effectiveness depends on tumor type, size, and location. Whole-body MRI is not usually used as a routine test for screening cancer. Doctors may recommend MRI scans when they suspect cancer or other serious medical conditions after preliminary analysis.

Common preventive measures include regular screenings, healthy lifestyle choices like a balanced diet and exercise, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol, sun protection, and vaccination.

Preventive actions for cancer include routine screenings, healthy lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing safe habits (safe sex and avoiding sharing needles), and vaccination.

Regular screenings for early detection, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding tobacco are the most effective measures for cancer prevention.

Various factors can inhibit cancer cell growth, including targeted therapies, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise (enhancing the immune system).

Certain foods with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, such as fruits, lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains, may potentially help stop cancer cell growth.

Challenges to effective screening include patient adherence, false positives and negatives, overdiagnosis and overtreatment, cost, and the low sensitivity and specificity of screening tests.

The duration of a cancer screening depends on the type of test and the cancer (if specific). The duration of screening appointments typically ranges from 15 minutes to an hour.