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Good lifestyle coaching in kids can keep childhood cancers at bay, say oncologists

Posted:  Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Most cases of childhood cancer can be traced back to lifestyle-related aberrations such as parental occupation, maternal reproductive history, parental tobacco or alcohol use, diet during pregnancy, and the child’s diet and lifestyle among others. Now, experts suggest educating children early about healthy lifestyle patterns to prevent childhood cancer.

The expert oncologist Dr. Anupam Sachdeva from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital recommends the following steps to prevent childhood cancer.

•    Inculcate good dietary habits in children by encouraging them to consume antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables to offset the harm caused by free radicals. Provide them with immunity boosting foods such as yoghurt, garlic, coloured fruits and vegetables.

•    Childhood obesity is a foremost cause of childhood cancer. To curb this health hazard, it is important to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, provide a balanced diet, encourage outdoor games, limit TV viewing time, curb consumption of junk foods and sweets, and provide a wholesome breakfast.

•    Children should be protected from the UV rays of the sun.

•    Children should be educated about the effects of smoking and alcohol intake from childhood so that they abstain from these habits as adults.

•    Children should be vaccinated against hepatitis B to protect them from liver cancer in adulthood.

•    It is also important to regularly screen and test for certain cancers such as cervical cancer. Parents can set the precedent by getting tested and immunising their children to protect them from future risks.

Prevention of cancer begins at birth. By adopting simple day-to-day measures, it is now possible to safeguard children against this deadly condition.

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