World Cancer Day is observed every year on February 4 to raise awareness about this deadly disease and encourage its prevention. Despite several efforts, recent data has shown that there is a high rate of cervical and breast cancer anomalies in healthy women. Based on data of 2,400 healthy individuals who underwent cancer screening in the last 10 months at NURA, it was found that 1 in 20 healthy people show anomalies in lungs that may go on to develop into lung cancer, while 1 in 50 show anomalies for colon and prostate cancer. NURA is a collaboration between Fujifilm Healthcare and Dr Kutty’s Healthcare to offer AI-enabled imaging and expert healthcare at Bengaluru. Doctors suggested that these anomalies must be investigated further through a biopsy to take precautionary measures against cancer.
“After screening 2,400 healthy individuals for cancer over the last 10 months at at NURA, we found an anomaly rate ranging from 24 per cent for cervical cancer to 20 per cent for breast cancer, 5-6 per cent for lung cancer and 2-3 per cent for colon and prostate cancer. Indians suffer from cancer-phobia. Despite huge advancements in healthcare, a misconception persists that cancer cannot be treated. The reality is that cancer is easily treatable if detected early. The survival rate of cancer patients detected in stage 1 is 93 per cent whereas it is only 24 per cent if detected in stage 4. This shows why healthy and asymptomatic individuals must undergo preventive cancer screening every year and not wait for symptoms to appear. However, in India, cancer tends to be detected in more advanced stages. Cancer found in early-stage accounts for only a small percentage of patients, so the death rate remains high,” said Dr Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi, Medical Director, NURA.
“The best time to screen for cancer is when you’re healthy. Periodic screening is recommended for those who have a stressful and busy lifestyle, go on frequent business trips, and suffer from lack of sleep and exercise. People with a family history of cancer and lifestyle factors like obesity, smoking or excessive drinking can benefit greatly from early and periodic health screening. At NURA, the most common anomalies we find among healthy people related to breast cancer, cervical cancer and lung cancer,” he added.
A screening test is a voluntary thing and is meant for healthy asymptomatic people. This screening helps in identifying a health problem at an early stage. Early detection makes the treatment of cancer easier.
“Screening helps you identify previously unrecognised health risks. Finding them at an early stage allows you to modify your lifestyle and prevent lifestyle diseases. In the case of cancers, finding them early gives you the best chance of receiving effective treatment. Japan is a great example of why early detection works. Life expectancy in Japan is the longest in the world, thanks in part to their tradition of periodic screening. Cancers in Japan are usually detected at an early stage, giving those diagnosed with it the best chance at receiving effective treatment,” said Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi.
It is pertinent to mention that cancer is the second most common cause of death in India after cardiovascular disease. Also, mortality rate for the top 10 cancers in India is approximately 70 per cent. One in nine Indians will go on to develop cancer during their lifetime.