"Together we can fight cancer" - is not just a line; it's a motivation to all who bravely fought and are fighting this debilitating disease. With the changing lifestyle and eating habits, cancer is becoming more prevalent. You may know many people and celebs who have suffered and are suffering from cancer.
One thing is very common among those who successfully conquered this battle, i.e., high motivation. You may know about many celebs' cancer stories, like Sonali Bendre, Sanjay Dutt, Kirron Kher, etc. Each has a different experience and tale, but how they have battled is inspirational for those working to subdue this deadly disease.
Many get into depression and feel ashamed to share about their disease and don't even go for the last ditch to tackle this problem. Even the kind of discrimination they bear is unacceptable as it demotivates them.
Anyone could be the prey of cancer, so instead of spreading negatives, we should come together and bat on the front foot to curb the surging cases. According to Cancer India, around 2.7 million people had cancer in 2020. And 13.9 lakh new cancer patients register every year. This is an alarming sign for the government and the people. It's high time that we should work in a coalition.
Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital also keeps itself abreast in raising awareness about different types of cancer, prevention, identification, symptoms, and available treatment options.
What is Cancer?
It is a condition in which cells grow uncontrollably and spread throughout the body. Usually, the cells multiply and grow through a process called cell division to form new cells when our body needs them.
When the cells get old, damaged, or die, new cells take their place. But if this orderly process breaks down, the damaged and abnormal cells multiply when they shouldn't, which can further form tumors (an abnormal mass of tissue).
A tumor can be cancerous or non-cancerous. The cancerous or malignant tumors spread to neighboring tissues and other body parts with time to form new tumors.
Many cancerous tumors are in solid form, whereas cancers of the blood are generally not. Tumors like Benign tumors generally do not grow back once removed, but cancerous tumors sometimes do.
Normal Cells Vs. Cancerous Cells
- Grow when they receive signals.
- Follow the signals to stop cell division.
- Don't metastasize to other organs
- Safe for the body.
- Don't make changes in the chromosomes.
- Grow without getting any signal.
- Ignore the signals to stop cell division.
- Invade nearby areas and spread to other body parts.
- Hide from and trick the immune system.
- Make multiple changes in the chromosomes, like duplications and deletion of chromosome parts.
- Make energy from nutrients in a different way than normal cells to multiply rapidly
Stages of Cancer
Most cancers have 4 stages. Various factors can determine the stage:
Cancer is present in a small part.
Cancer has grown, but it hasn't spread to other body parts.
Cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other nearby tissues.
Cancer has spread to other organs and body areas. This is also known as advanced cancer and metastasis.
5 Most Common Types of Cancer in India
- Breast Cancer - This type of cancer forms in the breast cells. These affected cells divide uncontrollably and create a mass called a tumor. It Occurs mostly in women but sometimes men can also be affected. Feeling a lump and change in breast size and skin color are signs of breast cancer. A mammogram will help you confirm the disease.
- Oral Cancer - It can be explained as abnormal growth and soreness in the mouth that doesn't go away. Its signs include unexplained bleeding from the mouth, swelling, and thickness on cheeks, lips, or gums, difficulty chewing, ear pain, pain in the jaw, dramatic weight loss, etc. An oral cancer screening exam is used to diagnose the disease.
- Cervical Cancer - As the name suggests, cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix, the lower end of the uterus. Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, bloody vaginal discharge, pain during intercourse, and pelvic pain are all symptoms of cervical cancer. An HPV test, colposcopy, biopsy, biomarker testing of the tumor, X-ray, CT scan, PET-CT scan, and MRI are often recommended by doctors for cervical cancer diagnosis.
- Gastric Cancer - In Gastric cancer, malignant cells form in the stomach lining. Signs include bloating feeling after eating, stomach discomfort, indigestion, mild nausea, loss of appetite, heartburn, etc. Doctors often recommend stomach ultrasounds, imaging tests, and blood tests for diagnosis.
- Lung Cancer - Lung cancer is a leading cause of death globally. In this, cancerous cells form in the lungs that influence the patient's overall health. Symptoms like chest pain, coughing with blood, hoarseness, bone pain, headache, unexplained weight loss, etc., are all experienced by patients with lung cancer. MRI, CT scan, PET scan, bone scan, and X-ray are used to diagnose the disease.
Cancer Treatment Options Available
- Surgery: It includes removing cancer through the surgical process.
- Chemotherapy: A treatment that includes powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells.
- Radiation Therapy: In this treatment, high-powered energy beams, like protons or X-rays, are used to kill cancer cells.
- Hormone Therapy: The treatment entails removing some hormones that fuel cancer or blocking their effect.
- Immunotherapy: It helps the immune system to see and detect the cancerous cells in the body.
- Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT): A procedure to replace the damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells.
- Targeted Drug Therapy: The treatment controls how cancer cells grow, divide, and spread.
- Cryoablation: During this process, a thin wand-like needle is targeted to the cancerous tissue. And then, cold gas is released to freeze the cancerous cells in order to kill them.
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): A minimally invasive technique to reduce the size of nodules, tumors, and other abnormal growth.
Cancer Prevention Tips
- Eat healthy food
- Manage a healthy weight
- Stop the Use of tobacco in all its form ( Smoking or nonsmoking tobacco )
- Stop or reduce alcohol consumption
- Limit processed meats
- Refrain from vaping products
- Practice safe sex
- Don't share needles
- Consider routine health checkups
Let's join the National Cancer Awareness campaign and contribute to spreading awareness about various types of cancer, their treatment, and the advantages of routine health checkups.
Also, Read: Pledge to Spread Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention This October