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  • Cancer, prevention, and early detection

    Published on March 24, 2022

    Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist, Bangalore.

    Understanding cancer is the key to the prevention and early detection of cancer. If you show symptoms pointing to cancer, please consult with Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist, in Bangalore.

    Cancer, Prevention and early detection:

    First, let us understand what cancer is.

    A typical cell in the body has a particular behavioral pattern. It is supposed to multiply only when it is necessary for the body.

    But, when there is DNA damage to the cell, that cell can either repair the damage or get destroyed or turn into an abnormal cell called cancer.

    Dr. Sandeep Nayak, in this article, explains that cancer on its own has no symptoms. It is the involved organ that shows symptoms related to the organ.

    For example,

                When you have lung cancer, it will manifest in the form of TB.

                When you have rectal cancer, it will manifest in the form of piles.

                When you have digestive cancer, it will manifest in the form of anemia.

     So, the bottom line is that if you are showing these conditions that don’t heal in time despite medication, it is time to visit an oncologist.

     Consult with Dr. Sandeep Nayak for the best cancer treatment in Bangalore.

    In his vast career of over 2 decades, Dr. Sandeep Nayak has healed thousands of patients of cancer.

     He is always looking to adopt new technologies to make the patients most comfortable while they are healing from cancer.

     Dr. Sandeep Nayak specializes in Robotic and laparoscopic surgeries to enable faster healing in a patient.

     These surgeries are called Minimal Access Cancer Surgeries, hence the name MACS clinic for cancer.

    What happens in cancer?

    Instead of going into cell death, the abnormal cell starts multiplying rapidly and spreads around.

    When it starts spreading, it starts consuming the body and destroying various organs in the body. That is why cancer is dangerous.

    When the cancer is confined to one area, it will not cause too much damage, but when it starts spreading, it becomes fatal.

    Relevance of the region you live in with the type of cancer:

     In India, Bangalore, and its surrounding regions, the most prevalent cancer is that of the lip and oral cavity in men, followed by lung, stomach, and colorectal cancer, esophagus, and prostate.

     Recently, head and neck cancers have become predominant in men.

     When it comes to women, it is breast cancer and cervical cancer, followed by ovarian

     cancers, and then the rest of the cancers we see in men.

    What is the best way to treat cancer?

    MACS clinic strategizes Prevention and early detection of cancer-based on this data available.

    One in five people living today will develop cancer sometime during their life.

    Hence, the aim is to bring that awareness among people to prevent cancer deaths.

    12-year data prevalent to India shows a rise in the number of people who have cancer.

    In the 1950s, the average life expectancy of our people was below 40; now, it is 70 and more.

    Life expectancy is increased because people no longer die of common infectious diseases.

     Now deaths are occurring due to more critical illnesses only, like cancer.

     Because the body is getting old, all the damages start accumulating and result in BP, Heart Diseases, Diabetes. All these can develop into a stroke and many other illnesses as you get older.

     Age is an unavoidable risk factor for all these diseases, including cancer.

     All we can do is be aware of cancer and prevent its occurrence, or prevent death due to cancer.

     There are two aspects of it one is primary prevention, another one is a secondary Prevention.

     Primary prevention is preventing its occurrence, and secondary prevention identifies its occurrence and treats it before it causes death.

     Primary prevention: Primary prevention means risk reduction.

    For this, let’s bust some myths.

    1.      Genetics is the primary cause.

    No, it is the least common. Just 4 – 10% contributes to hereditary factors.

    2.      The type of food intake causes cancer.

    Yes, it does, along with obesity and lack of exercise, cause about 20 plus % of cancers.

    3.      Bad Personal Hygiene.

                It contributes to 10% of cancers predominantly because of infections.

    4.      About 40%, the major chunk of cancers is caused by tobacco and pan masala.

    5.      About 25% of cancers occur due to unknown reasons. Even if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, it can happen.

    In simple words, everything under the sun, including the sun, can cause cancer.

    Now that we know the contributing factors of cancer, prevention of cancer is as simple as avoiding the causes.

    So, avoid consumption of tobacco alcohol, keep infections at bay by maintaining hygiene, keep yourself physically active and check your diet.

    Cancer due to tobacco:

    Today more than 70 percent of oral and lung cancers are caused by tobacco consumption

    and it’s imperative to remember that more than 40 percent of overall cancers are caused by tobacco consumption.

     It includes direct smoking and passive smoking.

     Every part of the body can be affected by cancer due to tobacco.

     It is one of the most preventable causes of cancer. Although government regulations have

     tried it out, a complete ban on tobacco is the only solution.

    Cancer Due to Alcohol:

    A second important factor that is known to cause cancer is alcohol consumption.

    22 percent of cancers among men are caused because of alcohol.

    Remember that alcohol is an industrial solvent, so drinking alcohol is not the only way to get cancer. It can happen because of the presence of alcohol in other products too.

     Indian lack an enzyme that degenerates aldehyde; hence they are more prone to cancer due to alcohol intake.

     Alcohol can cause multiple cancers like oral cavity cancer, larynx cancer, esophagus, breast cancer among women, liver and bowel cancers.

    Cancer due to infections:

    22 percent of cancers in India are caused by infection, predominantly viral and bacterial infections.

     Pylori bacteria causes stomach cancer, papillomavirus for cervical cancer, and many other viruses like HIV, hepatitis, viruses cause various forms of cancers.

     Some of these bacteria and viruses have vaccines. Taking these vaccines can prevent cancer.

    Knowledge of how these are transmitted also helps prevent cancer. Especially

    hepatitis b, hepatitis c, and HIV.

     If you get infected by hepatitis and HIV, you can get liver cirrhosis which ultimately turns into cancer.

    Another significant cancer is cervical cancer. Taking an HPV vaccine can prevent cervical cancer.

    Cancer due to the HPV virus takes about 10-to 15 years to occur, so a PAP – smear test now and then can help prevent this cancer before it happens.

    Cancer due to food and lifestyle:

    Cancers due to inactivity and diet contribute to approximately 20% of cancers.

     Studies show that processed and red meat is carcinogenic. So, avoid consuming those.

    Sugar is another carcinogenic group. It increases obesity in a person.

    Be at healthy weight and have good physical activity like walking for 30 minutes to an hour.

     Eat a healthy diet with green leafy vegetables, whole grain, fruits, and beans.

    Avoid processed food, fast foods, and all sugary diets, limit consumption of red meat and

    you know sugary drinks are hazardous, and limit alcohol intake.

     Do not replace food with nutritional supplements like vitamins. These are not

    expected to reduce the risk of cancer, it is just for your comfort that you are taking them.

     Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer:

    For breast cancer, it is vital to breastfeed the child to reduce the risk of breast cancer significantly, and after a cancer diagnosis, be on a close follow-up with your doctor.

     Cancer due to pollution:

    Pollution is another silent killer and causes lung cancer, so let us take responsibility for our environment and clean it.

    Are cancers age-specific?

    Some diseases are specific to a particular age group.

    1.      0 to 19 years of age: leukemias and brain tumors,  it just happens.

    2.      20 to 29 germ cell tumors that are testicular tumors or ovarian tumors, leukemias,  thyroid cancers, and skin cancers.

    3.      30 to 39 years of age group breast and thyroid cancers pick up quite significantly

    4.      , and as you get older, the other cancers start kicking in.

    5.      40 to 49 years breast cancer, thyroid cancer start increasing

    6.      50 plus all other cancers like colorectal, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, etc.

    But how can you better this?

    You can better this by means of early diagnosis.

    In cancer, it gives you about a few months to diagnose and treat and get a good result.

    Hence it is important to keep noticing new things happening in your body.

    What should you look for?

     The concept is if you wait for symptoms, your outcome can be harmful.

    If early diagnosis or screening is done, the results will be better.

     Be aware of your body; look for any lumps, bumps, anemia, weight loss, loss of appetite, tiredness, fatigue, any blood in the sputum, in stool, in vomits, in the phlegm.

    So anywhere you see the blood, that can be a warning sign.

     A wound that does not heal anywhere in the body, let it be mouth or anywhere else.

    Persistent indigestion, you are not eating well.

    Soreness of voice which is not going away for more than three weeks.

     Any symptom which has lasted more than 3 weeks must be investigated for cancer. This is what we mean by early detection.

     Remember, lumps are painless when they start.

    Women should self-examine themselves for lumps in standing, sleeping, and sitting positions. Raise your arm and use your finger’s soft padding to make circular motions to feel for lumps, pits, pain. Extend the examination up to the armpit.

     For oral cancer, you should look out for white patches. Examine the entire oral cavity thoroughly.

     For skin cancer, look for lesions bigger than 6 mm which are not healing, moles, reddened skin patches, etc.

    If you notice anything mentioned above, please consult your doctor.

    Apart from these, there are screening tests available which you should take as a matter of precaution whether the symptoms are there or not.

     How can you detect cancer early?

     Remember that symptoms occur after cancer has set in. screening tests are done to catch cancer before it sets in and starts showing signs. It is curable at that stage.

     Women should undergo mammography, which can be started at the age of 45

    Cervical cancer – pap smear above the age of 21.

     Men should undergo PSA testing which should be started above 45 to 50.

     Both men and women should take the colon-rectal cancer screening with fecal local blood or colonoscopy, which can be started above the age of 45

     We can do an ultrasound of the neck for all patients about 21 years of age for thyroid cancer.

     Early detection is required to simplify your healing from cancer without obtaining some form of disability.

     More than 60% of cancer patients go to an oncologist only when cancer has advanced.

    Only 30% of people approach the oncologist in the early stages

    to effectively treat and cure them.

    This is the gap which we need to fill.

    Conclusion:

    If detected early, it is possible to do minimally invasive surgeries, which give excellent results with laparoscopic or robotic surgery instead of open surgery.

    It is not only less painful, but it is also less blood loss, cosmetically better, shorter hospital and quicker back to normalcy, uncompromised immunity due to MACs surgery.

    So finally, take home the message that cancer is not the end; it can be cured.

    Cancer is painless when it starts in most cases and can be treated successfully if it is detected early. In many cases, provided you come early, a third of cancers can be prevented by lifestyle

    changes.

    The theme for 2022 and up to 24 the message is to close the care gap, which means we need to

    close the gap in every aspect of cancer, be it awareness, early detection, and treatment.

    Thank You for reading this article!

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