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Do Popular Diets Really Work?

May 22, 2015

diet
We keep seeing new research on which foods are good for you. On the flip side, we see new diets springing up, promising better health, quicker weight loss or for getting in shape. The question to ask though is, “Do popular diets really work?” There are plenty of diets that promise weight-loss or help in controlling blood sugar levels. There are also diets that promise to prevent diseases or even help muscle growth. Low-carbohydrate diets, or low-protein no-meat diets have all been popular at one point or the other. These diets are commonly called “yo-yo” diets because of the back-and-forth nature of the diets.

The trouble with these diets is that they mostly focus on the short-term and quickly visible results rather than focusing on health and fitness in the long-term. There’s also the fact that diet alone doesn’t promote a loss of fat or build muscle. Exercise is also a necessity to build muscle and keep the body healthy while keeping weight down.

Another downside to these diets is that, they can deprive you of essential nutrients you might not be aware of. A lack of protein, or vitamins could adversely affect health and cause problems like weak bones and atrophied muscles. They can also lead to the development of lifestyle diseases like diabetes due to erratic food consumption. Crash diets especially, could adversely affect health. Here are some of the negative effects of fad diets:

Effects of Popular Diets

 

Some diets even go to extreme levels, completely eliminating food groups or by limiting dieters to just a single food every day like the cabbage soup diet or some that even cut down meals to one a day. Diets that require supplements like protein powders can also affect health in a bad way. These diets are also characterized by extreme dietary restrictions and limited or no sources of research. The important thing to remember when adopting a diet is to ensure that it is a measured, coherent plan for the long term. A clear sign that a diet is a fad is the promise of quick and easy results. Proper diet plans advise portion control rather than elimination of food, and also emphasize on physical activity that improve health when paired with a diet. So, in order to stay healthy, adopting popular diets that seem like they get quick results could affect you in many negative ways. Increased risk of lifestyle and metabolic diseases and autoimmune conditions also rise.

 

We at Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics believe in providing the best healthcare and injury management. Our wide range of prosthetics and orthotics are designed to provide the best aid and support, no matter the need. To know more about us, visit www.cpousa.com.

 

Stress: Causes, Effects and Treatments

May 15, 2015

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Stress is a constant worry these days and is quickly becoming one of the most common psychological conditions. Fast-paced lifestyles and increased lifestyles, along with environmental factors are leading to an increase in stress levels among the population. However, stress can be combated with awareness of its causes, symptoms and treatments. Read on to find out more.

Causes of stress: Causes of stress are divided into both internal and external factors.

External factors:

Internal factors:

Now that we have seen some of the common causes of stress, let us take a look at the effects of stress. Stress affects everyone in different ways. It could be as a drive to overcome the stress, or destructive habits like smoking as a coping mechanism. Stress could also lead to anxiety or chronic depression.

Stress leaves both visual and subtle signs that can be recognized.

 

Signs that you have Stress

There is no need to worry even more. There are many to manage, if not completely eliminate stress other than relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking and drinking habits like overeating. There are many healthy options for dealing with stress.

Avoiding and Treating Stress

Help Yourself: Stress can be managed by making a conscious effort to improve your mood. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent and manage stress. A regular exercise routine, a healthy diet and positive coping mechanisms are very helpful in dealing with stress.

Find a hobby: Finding a way to keep occupied, like a hobby can help relax the body and mind. Doing something you enjoy can help you gain peace of mind. Activities like writing, gardening or painting help.

Therapy: In cases where dealing with stress by oneself doesn’t seem to be helping, there are options like therapy. Talking to a counselor or psychologist helps in dealing with stress. Talking to a counselor can also help identify the root cause of the stress and help come to terms with and overcoming it.

Medication: In cases of excessive stress, anxiety or depression, there are medications that can help lower stress levels by controlling the body’s responses. Medicines that help reduce hypertension and anxiety are used in the treatment of stress.

Take Time to Relax: Taking some time out to relax helps immensely in dealing with stress. Activities like listening to music or meditating are a good way to de-stress.

Laugh: Laughter is definitely the best medicine when it comes to dealing with stress. Laughing leads to a release of endorphins, which promote good feelings and stave off stress.

Being aware of stress goes a long way in preventing and dealing with it effectively. Knowing about the negative effects of stress and how it affects the body also helps stay healthy.

We at Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics are committed to good health. To know more about us, visit www.cpousa.com.

Exercises for the Indoors

May 8, 2015

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Sometimes, it’s impossible to head out of the house for a walk, jog or any other exercise. This could be due to the weather, or even seasons. Cold, heat, rain or snow can make going outdoors for exercise practically impossible. With the mercury rising in summer, exercising outdoors can have a host of negative effects like sunstroke, dehydration and heat exhaustion. So, when it’s impossible to exercise outdoors, there is still the indoors. Either in the gym or at home, indoor workouts can be just as effective as exercising outdoors. Contrary to popular belief, working out indoors does not restrict from any types of exercises, whether it’s for building muscle or slimming down and gaining muscle tone or strength. Exercises are broadly classified into two categories, based on what they involve and the benefits they offer.

Cardiovascular Exercises: Cardiovascular exercises are exercises like running or cycling. Cardiovascular training boosts endurance and stamina, as well as improves blood circulation. Cardio, as it’s popularly called also helps burn calories and fat, which makes it a very good routine for losing weight.  

Running or Cycling: Running and cycling are good cardiovascular exercises. These exercises can also be performed indoors. For running, there are exercises like jogging in place. There is also equipment available. There are treadmills for indoor running and stationary bikes for cycling indoors.  

Skipping: Skipping or jump-rope is a great cardiovascular work-out that improves stamina, endurance and also helps burn calories. All you need is a jump-rope. This exercise can also be performed indoors with enough room.  

Strength-training: As the name suggests, strength training focuses on increasing strength. Strength training can be focused in two ways, core strength and muscle building. Strength training is further divided based on its focus. Calisthenics primarily focuses on building core strength while weight-training’s primary focus is increasing muscle mass.

Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and, keeping your spine straight, lower into a sitting position so that your knees are at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Squats improve leg health and strengthen the calf and thigh muscles. There are also variations on the standard squat such as using weights, a wall for support or a medicine ball.

Push-ups: Push-ups are a standard exercise for improving core strength and improving muscle tone. Push-ups strengthen the arms, legs, back, shoulders and boost core strength as well. Again, there are many variations that target other muscle groups like close-handed or diamond push-ups. Push ups can also be performed against a wall or using a medicine ball. Start with lying on your stomach on the floor with your hands slightly less than shoulder-width apart. Brace your feet against the floor and push yourself up. Remember to keep your back straight. Do ten repeats as a set. Complete at least three sets.

Pull-ups: Pull-ups are a great callisthenic exercise for building core strength and muscle tone. Pull-ups also help strengthen the back and shoulder muscles. For pull-ups, all you need is a sturdy bar that can support body weight. Stand with your feet slightly spread and grab onto the bar with both hands in an overhand grip. Pull yourself up till your nose is level with bar while keeping your back straight. 

 

There are many more exercises that can be done indoors, with or without equipment like lunges and crunches, as well as other exercise forms like yoga, pilates or martial likes Tai Chi. The options are endless. It is completely possible to get a complete workout at home, if you want to lose weight, burn fat or just get in shape.

 

We, at Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics believe that staying fit and healthy is a vital part of life. For information on our products and services, visit us at www.cpousa.com or contact us here.

Foot Problems and How to Prevent Them

May 1, 2015

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The feet are one of the most important parts of the body. We use them every day for walking, running, climbing and when we play any sports. The feet are also intrinsically tied to our health and are good indicators that something is wrong. Take for example, the neuropathy caused by diabetes. It manifests in the lower limbs first. That is not to say that there are no problems associated with the feet rather than a symptom. Problems like blisters, hyperpronation and flat-feet are common foot conditions.

 

Common Foot Problems:

 

 

Prevention of Foot Problems

 

The one positive of foot problems is that they are, for the most part, easily manageable or treatable. Here are some tips on preventing and treating foot conditions:

 

Wear the right shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight and restrictive can cut off circulation to the feet and cause numbness. Restrictive shoes also make your feet sweaty and can cause infections. This can also cause blisters and ingrown toenails.

 

Keep your feet dry: Excessive moisture in the feet can cause athlete’s foot, a fungal infection. Choosing socks made of absorbent material like cotton and wool can prevent it.

 

Prevent nerve damage: Sugary foods and smoking cause a narrowing of the blood vessels, which can cause nerve damage. Nerve damage, or neuropathy is a symptom of diabetes. Reducing sugar intake and not smoking help prevent it and, regular exercise helps improve circulation and overall health.

 

Corns and Calluses: Corns and Calluses are thick deposits of skin caused by friction. These can be prevented by using special inserts in the shoes. They can also be treated with over-the-counter medicines but, it is better to see a doctor before beginning treatment. Treating corns and calluses can be risky in cases of diabetes or poor circulation.

 

Preventing Warts: Warts are growths on the skin caused by viruses. Prevent them by adopting good hygiene practices. Avoid sharing personal items like towels, socks and shoes with others. Keeping your feet dry also prevents infections.

 

Treating Flat Feet: Flat feet are a condition in which the entire bottom of the foot, including the arches, touches the floor. It can cause problems in the ankles and knees. Treatments for flat feet including custom shoe inserts that can help arch curvature, stretching exercises, and shoes that offer better support.

 

Preventing Achilles Tendonitis: Achilles Tendonitis can be prevented by maintaining a moderate activity level, along with rest. Strengthening the calf muscles also helps.

 

Visit our website for a list of orthotic services, visit www.cpousa.com. For a list of our orthotics and treatment options for foot problems, visit our orthotics page. Contact us at 888.676.2276

 

Adapted Exercises for the Disabled

April 24, 2015

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Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for everybody, as is regular exercise. A regular exercise routine improves health, muscle control, improves circulation and prevents a majority of lifestyle diseases. This is even more important when dealing with limited mobility, either due to accidents or other disabilities.
While exercise is part of the rehabilitation process, maintaining it even after completing the recovery process is necessary. Some of the common conditions related to sedentary lifestyles are heart disease, weight gain, diabetes and neurological conditions. While exercise helps with these conditions, traditional exercise might be beyond the scope of people with limited mobility and the differently abled. Here is where adapted exercises come in. Adapted exercises are routines specially designed by fitness experts as a way for the differently abled to maintain their health and build up strength. These exercises also promote health in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other degenerative conditions as well.

Categories of Adaptive Exercises

Cardiovascular Training: These exercises improve circulation, heart health and endurance. Here are a few examples of adapted cardio exercises. Good examples of these exercises are aquatic exercises, which help increase endurance and stamina due to the resistance of water. Aquatic exercises like water aerobics are a great way for people with spinal or limb problems. Wheelchair sports also help increase endurance and strength.


Upper body and core strength is really important. Training with weights, resistance bands and medicine balls help improve strength and core fitness.


Strength Training: These exercises promote muscle building and improve balance. Upper body and core strength is really important. Training with weights, resistance bands and medicine balls help improve strength and core fitness. Stomach pumps, seated crunches and seated twists are good examples of strengthening exercises. Isometric exercises also help.

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Adaptive Training with a medicine ball

Flexibility Exercises: These exercises improve balance, range of motion and reduce pain and stiffness. They also make it easier to perform certain actions with difficult ranges of motion. These exercises also prevent muscle contraction. Exercises like Yoga and Pilates can be adapted to performing them from a chair.

Precautions

For any workout, there are always precautions and steps that can prevent strain, overwork or things that can negatively affect health. These are some basic precautions to take before beginning a workout.

The one thing to remember when exercising though, is to keep motivated. There might be times when you get discouraged, or face interruptions to your routine due to ill health or other reasons. It’s important to get back into the routine as soon as possible. So get out there and begin a workout that keeps you healthy!

We at Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics are committed to helping our patients live a complete, healthy and fulfilling life. For Information on our products and services, visit us at www.cpousa.com or call us at 888.676.2276

 

 

Disability Does Not Mean Exclusion from Sports

April 17, 2015

 

 

Disability Sports

Disability is often seen as a limitation but like any limitation, it can be overcome. There are plenty of people who have broken the barriers placed in their way and found success and an active lifestyle. Sports, adventure and gruelling tests of endurance are all par for the course. There are many sportspersons who have remained active despite severe and debilitating injuries.

 

Disabled Sports (parasports or adaptive sports) have been around since as early as 1911 and over time, they evolved, to include various disabilities such as loss of senses, loss of mobility and intellectual impairment. Football, Basketball, Long Jumps and Rowing are just a few of the sports that have been adapted for the differently abled. Skydiving, mountain climbing and scuba diving that have been achieved by people with disabilities.

 

Here are some of the sports and adventure activities available to those with physical disabilities:

 

Paralympic Sports

 

The Paralympics was started post World War 2 due to the number of injured left behind in the aftermath. Ex-military personnel and civilians were both encouraged to participate in sports as a step in their rehabilitation programs. This program soon grew in strength and ultimately became a competitive event. Each sport is categorized based on 8 types of physical disabilities ranging from Muscle Impairment to Loss of Limbs. Vision Loss and Intellectual Disabilities are also categorized.

"David Bizet - Marathon de Paris 2014" by © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“David Bizet – Marathon de Paris 2014″ by © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Paralympics include sports like Alpine Skiing, Basketball, Cycling, Equestrian Sports and Judo, to name just a few.

 

Adventure Sports:

 

While this may be more limited in scope than an international event like the Paralympics, there are still quite a few who participate in adventure sports. Support groups and NGOs like the Wounded Warrior Project provide rehabilitation, training and opportunities for those with disabilities.

 

There are also those who take the initiative and continue to pursue what they love despite crippling injuries.

 

Hugh Herr, an American Rock climber lost both his legs to frostbite. Herr, an associate professor and MIT and Head of the Biomechatronics Research Group there, developed specialized prostheses that allow him to follow his passion as a rock climber. This is what he said when asked on his experience:

“At the beginning of that year society said I was broken. One year later I had surpassed my pre-amputation climbing abilities and done climbs no climber had ever done.

 

Bethany Hamilton, a surfer and shark attack survivor returned to the seas and professional surfing soon after recovering from the attack which took her left arm.

 

Other Sports

 

These are not the only sports events available for those with disabilities. There are many local, national and international organizations that encourage and provide opportunities for the disabled to embrace their inner athletes. There are Triathlon Competitions, Cross-Country Events like Running and Cycling and Swimming Competitions. The possibilities are many. There are also advanced prosthetics available for those who lead active lifestyle.

There are just a few things to keep in mind. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor and prosthetist before stepping into the world of sports. There are many things to be aware of; especially when it comes to limitations. Discuss the possibilities of overcoming them and what precautions you need to take before exploring the world of disabled sports.

 

To talk to an expert, or for information on our products and services, visit us at www.cpousa.com or contact us at 888.676.2276.

What is Glaucoma?

March 6, 2015

Glaucoma

 

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerves in the eyes. Glaucoma is caused by very high levels of fluid pressure in the eyes. This is known as Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Glaucoma can be classified into two categories: open-angle and closed-angle, each with unique characteristics symptoms. Characteristics like speed of onset and associated effects. Open-angle glaucoma develops over a period of time and has no obvious signs such as pain until late in the disease’s progression. On the other hand, closed-angle glaucoma causes severe pain on onset along with nausea, vomiting and greatly increased IOP. Closed-angle glaucoma is a medical emergency, unlike open-angle glaucoma. Glaucoma is considered a type of neuropathy, a condition which damages the nerves. It’s also the second major cause of blindness worldwide, right after cataracts.

Causes and Effects of glaucoma:

There are a variety of factors believed to cause glaucoma. However, the underlying causes have yet to be identified with any certainty. Dietary factors, genetic factors like congenital conditions and other conditions like diabetic retinopathy are believed to be some of the main causes. Glaucoma, if left untreated leads to a deterioration of vision and, in extreme cases can damage the eyesight permanently. In most cases, peripheral vision is the first to be affected. This is usually progressive, meaning it happens over a period of time, making it hard to notice until later, at which point, surgical intervention might be necessary. Glaucoma, if left untreated could lead to a permanent loss of vision.

Signs and Symptoms:

In most cases, glaucoma is hard to diagnose unless it’s caught early during an optic exam. The progression of the condition is slow and is not accompanied by obvious signs like pain or a sudden, drastic fall in vision. In cases like closed-angle glaucoma however, the signs are patently obvious.

Here are some of the signs to look for:

As you can see, most of the obvious signs are present only in closed-angle glaucoma. This is why glaucoma is generally called “the silent thief of sight”.

Diagnosing and Treating Glaucoma:

Glaucoma can be caught early in check-ups with ophthalmologists using specialized equipment that can test for field of vision and deterioration of the optic nerve. The damage done to the nerve can, if caught be stopped from progressing if caught early and be treated. Treatments for glaucoma vary depending on the state of the disease. If detected early, the disease can be treated with a combination of eye drops and medication aimed at relieving intraocular pressure to prevent further damage to the optic nerve. In severe cases, surgery or laser treatments that reduce IOP are the only option. Conventional surgeries relieve the pressure on the eye by making an incision to allow excess ocular fluid to drain out, reducing the pressure on the eyes. The same effect can be achieved by laser surgery. Both these procedures are outpatient procedures that don’t require spending the night at a hospital. Each of these surgeries have their benefits and drawbacks so, it’s wise to consult a doctor before opting for a surgery. There are side-effects to be considered too, and the success rates of these surgeries can vary.

Preventing Glaucoma:

The general consensus among doctors is that glaucoma cannot be prevented, only treated. However, there are steps to take that could stop the progression of the disease. Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Practice regular eye care. Getting tested can spot the disease and prevent deterioration
  2. Elevated eye pressures can be treated with prescribed medicines and eye drops
  3. Healthy diets and regular exercise helps.
  4. Eye protection is essential. Eye injuries can lead to glaucoma.

 

Osteoporosis: Treatments and Care

February 27, 2015


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Osteoporosis is a condition that severely affects bone heath, degrading bone mass and strength, making them more vulnerable to fractures. Osteoporosis is an age-related disease and is usually caused by a change in hormone levels like oestrogen and testosterone.   There are three types of osteoporosis, each with different causes and conditions. They are Primary Type 1 (post-menopausal osteoporosis), Primary Type 2 or Senile Osteoporosis which occurs from age 75 onwards in both females and males. Primary type 2 affects women more than men, at a ratio of 2:1. The third type of osteoporosis or secondary osteoporosis affects men and women equally. It is usually caused by disease or prolonged medication that has weakened the bones. Osteoporosis increase the risk of fractures increases greatly. The hip, shoulder, spine and the wrist are the most susceptible. These fractures can be debilitating, causing severe pain, limited mobility and in some cases cause complications that could lead to paralysis or in some cases even be fatal. Osteoporosis is a manageable condition. Being aware of the risk factors associated with osteoporosis is a big help in preventing the disease and, if already contracted can be controlled and treated accordingly. There are many factors that increase the risk of contracting osteoporosis. These are the common risk factors of osteoporosis

Treating Osteoporosis:  Osteoporosis is a treatable condition. While bone degradation cannot be reversed, there are medicines available that can slow or even stop the progression of osteoporosis.   Medical Treatments: Certain classes of drugs like Raloxifene (Evista), Actonel and Fosamax can be taken to prevent the breaking down of bone. These drugs are categorized as Biphosphonates. There are other treatments that can help build bone mass and prevent fractures. Strontium is an element that is close to calcium in the way it interacts with bone, and is believed to help in the formation of the skeleton. It has proven successful in women with osteoporosis by increasing bone density. Care for osteoporosis: People with osteoporosis need to be very careful in their lifestyle. A single misstep could lead to a fall and cause a fracture. Accidents can be prevented by removing furnishings like carpets to prevent tripping or having railings installed on stairways for support while climbing. A few small changes to make a home safer can prevent anything untoward from happening. It’s also important to have A caregiver of hand for support. Osteoporosis sometimes occurs in the elderly, which can be complicated by other conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration that affect the sight. The inability or an impaired ability to see can lead to accidents, which can be a problem combined with osteoporosis.

Managing Multiple Sclerosis

February 20, 2015

Managing-Multiple-Sclerosis3
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that primarily affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Multiple Sclerosis, also known as encephalomyelitis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that a person’s immune system is attacking the nerve cells and causing damage. The main cause however, has not been identified. Genetics, environmental factors and pathogens are all believed to be a factor but, the true cause has yet to be identified. MS causes a host of physical, mental and in some cases, psychiatric problems. A cure for MS hasn’t been found yet, and the only way to treat the disease is to manage the symptoms.
Common Symptoms of MS:
Sleeping disorders: Insomnia, broken sleep and unrestful sleep are common symptoms of MS.
Muscle disorders: Muscle spasms, involuntary reflexes, tingling sensations or numbness are among the symptoms of MS.
Optical problems: Double vision, neuritis, blurry vision and loss of vision are common in those suffering from MS.
Mobility: People suffering from MS sometimes have difficulty walking as well as transfers like moving from chairs or the bed. Balance, movement, low exercise tolerance, fatigue and tremors are common.
Emotional: Multiple Sclerosis can sometimes manifest psychiatric disorders. Clinical depression, anger, anxiety and frustration are common in those affected by MS.
Speech: In some cases, MS can cause speech disorders like trouble pronouncing certain words or syllables, speed of speech and articulation. Slurred speech is also common.
Cognitive: MS can affect memory retention, processing speed, visual and spatial abilities and other functions. Emotional instability can also occur.
Pain: Studies suggest that 63% of people suffering from MS experience pain, ranging from mild and moderate to extremely debilitating. Headaches, pain in the limbs and back pain are common.
Managing MS
Currently, the only way to deal with multiple sclerosis is to manage the symptoms and the effects of the disease. Doctors generally prescribe treatments and medications for the individual problems rather than treating MS as a whole.
There are treatment options for and ways to cope with the different effects. Sleep disorders can be managed by creating a set sleep schedule, tiring oneself or in a worst case scenario, sleep aids are available.
Pain management: Painkillers and light exercises can help manage the pain. Muscle relaxants and pain relief medications also help
Mobility: In case of difficulty moving, mobility aids, physiotherapy and exercise help manage this problem.
Bladder and bowel dysfunction: Bladder and bowel dysfunction can manifest as incontinence, inability to empty the bladder or bowel and sometimes, both at the same time. Catheterization can be used to manage bladder dysfunction. Bowel issues can be managed with training, adequate fluid intake and a high-fibre diet.
Cognitive problems: Cognitive problems can be managed by brain-training exercises, rehabilitation, tools that can help compensate and aerobic exercise to improve function.
There are plenty of symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis and, as mentioned above, each of these symptoms have to be tackled individually. Doctors and medical professionals advise on managing the symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. A healthy lifestyle and diet, and managing the underlying symptoms help treat the disease. The underlying cause can also be managed through the use of anti-inflammatory medication or through Immunomodulatory Therapy (IMT), which can prevent the symptoms from worsening.

CPO provides a wide range of orthoses for Multiple Sclerosis. Visit our website at http://bit.ly/1vMH31v for more information.

World Cancer Day

February 4, 2015

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Cancer is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, with around 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012.The number of new cancer cases is predicted to rise by about 70% over the next two decades. Among men, the most common cases of cancer diagnosed in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectum, stomach, and liver cancer. Whereas in women the most common cancers diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.

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