CANCER IS 3RD CAUSE OF DEATH IN RPManila, June 2, 2003 -- According to the Department of Health (DoH), the incidence of noncommunicable diseases, one of which is cancer, already exceeds that of communicable diseases like tuberculosis and STDs. Lung cancer, the leading form of cancer for both males and females, shows an increasing rate of incidence based on figures from 1980 to 1998, with 9,711 deaths reported out of 11,123 new cases in the latest figures. Breast cancer, the 2nd top cancer site with 9,436 new cases, claimed 3,057 lives, while the third site, liver cancer, totaled 4,403 deaths out of 5,249 new cases. It is estimated that 1 out of 1,000 Filipinos has cancer. The incidence rates increase with age, with 3.6% for those under 14 years old, 91% for those around 35 years old, and 76% for those around 50 years old. For every two new cancer cases diagnosed annually, one will die within the year (50% mortality rate). Cancer prevention methods should be inculcated among Filipinos if ever these grim statistics are to be improved. Despite the alarming magnitude of the problem, altering one's lifestyle via healthy nutrition choices can help to prevent the formation of cancer. It may seem surprising that to discover a healthy diet will go a long way to help prevent the risk of cancer. Researchers said that 35% of all cancers have a nutritional connection, and asserts that Filipinos can take advantage of their love for food to educate themselves on how proper diet can lower the risk of cancer in our society. Foods that are rich in protective factors, such as fruits and vegetables, should be included more in the Filipino diet. Information must also be disseminated on how these types of food produce many protective nutrients, or phytonutrients, one of which is Isoflavones. Isoflavones have been discovered to possess cancer fighting properties. They help reduce breast cancer by blocking the cancer-causing effects on human estrogen that our body naturally produces. They have also been found to hinder the growth of prostrate cancer as well, causing the cancer cells to die in a way similar to the many common cancer treatment drugs. Researchers said foods rich in this protective factor include berries, darkgreen leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, legumes (beans of all sorts) and whole grains.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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