Cancer prevention measures can be taken on three major levels:
Involves identifying cancer-causing factors and reducing the risk with a healthy lifestyle, alcohol and tobacco cessation, vaccination, and obesity management.
Involves detecting cancer before the onset of symptoms for successful treatment through screening.
Involves delaying the disease progression and preventing complications, such as secondary malignancies once the disease becomes symptomatic.
Cancer Screening is a collective term given to a series of medical tests performed on asymptomatic individuals to check for the presence of precancerous lesions. At HCG’s Preventive Oncology OPD, screening tests are available for the cancers of breast, colon, rectum, prostate, and cervix.
It is the evaluation of symptom-free, apparently healthy females aged between 20-70 years for early detection of breast cancer. Breast cancer screening is done through clinical breast examination and mammography.
Screening for colorectal cancer aims to detect polyps that grow in the colon and rectum. As this cancer often shows no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, regular screening is crucial. Colorectal cancer screening is done through tests like faecal occult blood test and upper/lower GI endoscopy.
Prostate cancer progresses at a slower rate; therefore, regular screening may help in catching cancer even before it starts showing symptoms. Prostate cancer screening is done through a PSA test (a blood test) and Digital Rectal Examination (DRE).
Cervical cancer screening detects abnormalities in cervical cells that could lead to cancer. Regular screening helps in early detection since it can take years for any changes to develop into tumours. A Pap test or Pap smear is an effective screening method.
Whole-body MRI is a highly sensitive and specific cancer screening tool that can detect tumours smaller than one centimetre and provide accurate information on precancerous lesions. These scans can help avoid invasive screening and diagnostic procedures.
Tobacco and alcohol consumption increase the risk of many preventable diseases, including cancer. Psychological and medical interventions can help achieve successful tobacco and alcohol cessation by identifying triggers and building healthier coping mechanisms. Medications can also control the urge to smoke or drink.
HCG has a specialised tobacco and alcohol cessation clinic that offers psychological and medical intervention to help patients quit smoking and reduce their risk of cancer and other diseases.
Obesity increases the risk of cancer due to factors, such as inflammation, hormone imbalance and impaired fat metabolism. Healthy weight management through a carefully planned diet and medication can reduce cancer risks and the risk of other chronic diseases.
HCG has an obesity clinic that offers personalised weight loss plans and treatment options for obese individuals. The clinic's comprehensive approach includes dietary advice, lifestyle changes, and medications that can help in suppressing appetite or reducing calorie absorption.
Vaccinations for onco-viral infections like Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis-B virus (HBV) can prevent certain cancers. HPV vaccines protect against cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers. The vaccine is recommended for ages 9-26 and should not replace cervical cancer screening. HBV vaccines prevent Hepatitis B, which can cause liver cancer and can be taken by individuals of all ages.
Cancer is a lifestyle disease that can be prevented with a healthier and more active lifestyle. Sedentary habits, unhealthy diet, and chronic stress can trigger tumour formation and worsen cancer growth. HCG's lifestyle modification counselling sessions aim to create awareness and promote an active lifestyle, healthy diet, and stress management strategies.
At HCG, novel cancer prevention strategies are adopted, including identifying biological mechanisms linked to cancer risks, studying immune system stimulation to fight cancer, developing new cancer prevention drugs, addressing socioeconomic and biological factors that increase cancer rates in specific populations, and assessing environmental exposure impact on cancer risks while intervening to reduce those exposures.
HCG adopts neo-preventive strategies to prevent cancer development. These include primary and secondary cancer prevention, genetic testing and counselling, and devising immunotherapy and nanotechnology-based cancer prevention strategies.