Cancer could affect every family if lifestyles don't change: Expert

Ismail Sebugwaawo/Abu Dhabi
Filed on December 1, 2019 | Last updated on December 1, 2019 at 10.05 pm
cancer, health, lifestyle


Oncology hospitals are registering significant numbers of cancer patients.

Immediate change in lifestyle is a must to control the 'cancer epidemic', or else every family in the region might end up being affected by the disease one way or another, a health expert has warned. 

Although the region is yet to have a proper cancer database to illustrate the scenario, oncology hospitals are registering significant numbers of cancer patients, Dr Shahrukh Hashmi - director of clinical trials at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Saudi Arabia - told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the recent International Oncology Conference in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Hashmi, who is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, US, said that about 10 per cent of middle-aged and elderly people in the region are affected by malignancy. If immediate care is not taken, every family might get affected.

"Consumption of processed meat and smoking cigarettes and shisha, as well as obesity, are directly connected to various types of cancer," he said.

"People must change their habit and stay away from fast food, processed meat, and smoking. They should also leave the sedentary lifestyle and go to gym more often to control obesity, which does not only cause diabetes, but most of the cancers, too."

Dr Hashmi also said a lot of money was being spent on the treatment of cancer in the GCC region, but meaningful prevention programmes are yet to be put in place. "Governments need to focus more on preventative efforts than treatment," he advised.

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