Cancer in Pakistan and physical activity... By Hassan
28 January, 2013
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body does not need them. Cancer appears to occur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. It can also occur when cells forget how to die. There are many different kinds of cancer. Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue. In developing countries like Pakistan, the ratio of cancer is very high with some 320,000 new cancer cases being reported in the country every year.
Breast cancer is very common among women, while head, neck and throat cancer among men and leukemia and lymphoma among children. According to the Breast Cancer Awareness Programme (BCAP) National Coordinator Omer Aftab, presently, one out of eight women in the country is suffering from breast cancer, "Pakistan tops the Asian countries in terms of prevalence of breast cancer that stands for 38.5 percent of all female cancer patients. Young women are more vulnerable to this deadly disease." There are only 20 cancer hospitals in the country.
There are many suggestions to curtail the rates of these diseases, like cancer registry, national cancer policy based upon a health expert’s views and public awareness programmes about physical activity. Higher levels of fitness have had a profound impact on a human being’s quality of life and life span. Physical activity and cancer have a strong association with each other. There is convincing evidence that physical activity is correlated with a reduced risk of cancers of the colon and breast. Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles; such movements result in an expenditure of energy. Physical activity is a critical component of energy balance, a term used to describe how weight, diet and physical activity influence health, including cancer risk.
Several studies also have reported links between physical activity and a reduced risk of cancers of the prostate, lung and lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Researchers have established that regular physical activity can improve health by: helping to control weight, maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, promoting psychological well-being, reducing the risk of death from heart disease, reducing the risk of premature death. Now the question arises: how much physical activity is required? The simple regime is to engage in moderate intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week, or to engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three or more days of the week. As a physical therapist and health fitness expert, I would love to say that medicating with movement in life is a simple and effective strategy to overcome these life threatening diseases.
DR HASSAN ANJUM SHAHID