Cancer Awareness: Prevention is better than cure

27th March 2017 at 3:47 pm
Cancer Awareness

Cancer is a growing public health problem worldwide which is causing unimaginable social and economic problems in developing countries like India. Cancer in all forms causes about 12% of deaths throughout the world. According to National Cancer Control Program, over 7-9 lakh new cases of Cancer are being detected every year in India. The State of Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest cases of cancer followed by Maharashtra in 2013-14 together accounting for more than a whopping 5 lakh cases in a span of just 2 years. The International Agency for Research on Cancer GLOBOCAN project, has predicted that India’s cancer burden will nearly double in the next 20 years to more than 1·7 million cases by 2035.

HatkeStory therefore wants to educate our readers to easily understand “What Cancer really is?” and “What its potential risk factors/causes are”.

What is Cancer?
According to the National Cancer Institute, USA, Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.


How is Cancer Caused?

Cancer is basically a genetic disease that is caused by changes to genes that control the way our body cells function, especially how they grow and divide. When cancer develops, the orderly process of cell division breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumours.

Genetic changes that cause cancer, can be inherited from our parents. They can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. Cancer-causing environmental exposures include substances, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Which part of the body does cancer affect?
Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body.

Can cancer spread from one part of the body to the other?
Yes, the process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis. A cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body is called metastatic cancer.

What are the common types of Cancer?

  • Carcinoma: Affects epithelial cells in human body
  • Sarcoma: Affects Bone and Soft Tissue
  • Leukaemia: Affects blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow
  • Lymphoma: Affects immune cells called lymphocytes
  • Myeloma: Affects immune cells called plasma cells
  • Melanoma: Affects pigment making cells that give skin color
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Tumours
  • Germ Cell Tumours: Affects cells that produce sperm/eggs
  • Neuroendocrine Tumours: Affect cells that release hormones
  • Carcinoid Tumours: Mostly affect rectum and small intestine

Why there is NO perfect cure for cancer?
Cancer can be successfully treated if detected in the early stages with proper and prompt treatment. There is NO perfect cure because the case of cancer differs greatly from person to person and the same generic treatment cannot be applied to all.

How is Cancer treated?
Treatment depends on the type of Cancer. The procedure generally involves Surgery or Drugs or Radiation or a combination of these methods.

Why is Cancer treatment so costly?
A number of factors:

  • High cost of Drug development & Monopoly of some Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Cancer is a frightening condition and people are ready to pay any price.
  • Hospital bills are high too, excluding the price of medicines

What can you do to prevent Cancer?
They say: “Prevention is better than cure”

  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Eat healthy and exercise regularly
  • Ensure immunization against viruses such as Hepatitis B
  • Immediately consult a doctor if you detect any unwanted changes in your body

List of hospitals/institutes that offer affordable or free treatment for the poor:

  • Adyar Cancer institute, Chennai
  • Cancer Care Foundation of India, Mumbai
  • Delhi State Cancer Institute (DSCI)
  • Dharamshila Hospital and Research (DHRC), Delhi
  • The Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute
  • ICS Cancer Detection Centre, Mumbai
  • Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore
  • Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, Kolkata
  • Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre
  • Shree Santram Samdhi Sthan, Nadiad (Gujarat)
  • Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
  • Tata Memorial Hospital, Kolkata

 

Sources:

  1. http://pbhealth.gov.in/Cancer Control Programme.pdf
  2. https://tmc.gov.in/ncg/docs/PDF/Growing%20burden%20of%20cancer%20in%20India%20-%20epidemiology%20and%20social%20context.pdf
  3. List of regional cancer centers. http://mohfw.nic.in/showfile.php?lid=333
  4. National Cancer Institute, USA
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