Dr. Kaushal Yadav
New Delhi, October 26-Cancer basically defined as uncontrolled growth of cells in the body arising from a particular organ. This uncontrolled growth leads to development of cancer. People have certain fears as to whether cancer can be treated or not.
Basically, cancerous cells start with a small growth and have the tendency to spread to other organs. This process is called Metastasis. Usually cancer has four stages and it is very important to diagnose cancer at an early stage.
Some people have come to us to say that they have always been physically active and led healthy lifestyles so why did they develop cancer. Most of the cancer is related to environmental and lifestyle factors. Hereditary factors are only 5-10%. So despite leading a healthy life, there are many risk factors which may produce multiple effects and could lead to development of cancer cells. A healthy life and a healthy diet is a way to prevent the cancer. It also very important to remain aware of the symptoms of cancer.
If anybody having an ulcer which is not healing, any cough which is not improving, any unexplained loss in weight, any changes in dietary habits, uncontrolled constipation, loose motions, bleeding from any side of the body or any change in the pre-existing ways of life; such people should consult the doctor.
Common cancers in males in India are head and neck cancers. In female, the most form of cancer are breast and cervix cancer.
In order to ensure earliest possible detection and cure of cancer, one must go through a timely screening, which is a test that establishes how much cancer has spread in the body and it’s potentially harmful effects.
For breast cancer, screening recommendations are by blood self examination, chemical examination, clinical examination and screening mammography.
Screening mammography for an average risk individual is recommended the starting at the age of 40 or 50 according to the guidelines. It is to be done once in two years till the age of 74 years.
In high risk patients, which have a strong family history and certain mutations, screening tests can be started earlier also.
Cervix cancer is common in rural population in India. For detection of cervix cancer there is a recommended which is started around the age of 30 years and it is usually done at an interval of three years. It has shown to decrease the potential mortality associated with cervix cancer.
In oral cancer which is common in males in India, examination is important and it is very important to avoid smoking and tobacco chewing and stop other habits associated with cancer growth.
For colorectal and prostate cancers, screening guidelines are available for the patients. Screening tests are highly recommended so that they can be treated early.
As I explained earlier, there are some common signs and symptoms of cancer about which awareness should be spread the common populace so that the help of a doctor,physician or an oncologist could be sought as early as possible.
Hence, earlier detection and common awareness about its symptoms is the key for better treatment of cancer.
(The doctor is MS (Surgery) from PGIMS, Rohtak, MCh (Surgical Oncology) from Tata Memorial Cancer Centre, Mumbai. He is Senior Consultant and Head of Department, Surgical Oncology at Paras Hospitals, Gurugram)