Early detection of cancer makes the treatment far easier and survival rates much higher. To raise awareness about cancer, its prevention, and timely treatment, National Cancer Awareness Day is celebrated on November 7.
Environmental degradation and faulty lifestyles are leading to an increase in cancer incidence in the country. Protecting the environment and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help prevent cancer, states Dr. Vineet Talwar, Director – Medical Oncology at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC) New Delhi, India’s premier cancer care center.
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Smoking, air pollution, diesel fumes are leading to an increase in the incidence of lung cancer. Those working in plastic factories where benzene compounds are used are at risk of cancer of the urinary bladder. Similarly, those exposed to fungal toxins have a high risk of liver cancer.
Emphasizing on early detection of cancer, Dr. Talwar said, if you get treatment for any problem for a period of 3-4 weeks and the situation doesn’t come under control, one needs to get investigations done very swiftly. If there is a sore throat, fever, lump, bleeding or altered bowel habits that don’t settle down, early investigations are a must. If we are able to catch cancer at an early state the success rate of getting cured is very high.
November 7 being Lung cancer awareness day too, Dr. L M Darlong, Senior Consultant & Head – Thoracic Surgical Oncology at RGCIRC says, “Rising levels of pollution have led to an increase in the incidence of lung cancer and it is no longer only a smoker’s disease. Even young patients are falling prey to it.
Unfortunately, a majority of patients report in the last stage of cancer. As a result, lung cancer has become the leading cause of cancer deaths in India, higher than the combined mortality of breast, prostate, and colon cancers.”
Speaking on the need for early screening, Dr. Darlong said, “Lung cancer screening is very important and can be a lifesaver. Any cough that does not get cured for 3-4 weeks should be diagnosed. Lung cancer is confused with tuberculosis in the initial stages.
A lot of time gets wasted in the wrong treatment and patients reach cancer centers at a late stage. Especially in high-risk individuals such as smokers, screening is a must. Unfortunately, only 10 percent of lung cancer patients report early for treatment. A majority 60-70 percent report late, he added. (IANS)