Tuesday January 28, 2020

World Cancer Day special: Fight cancer with hope and positive attitude

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New Delhi: Being diagnosed with cancer at a prime age with flying dreams and a family to look after can be earth-shattering for most people. But when it comes to facing the stark reality, whom does one blame for the slow but certain decay of cells and tissues in your body.

At a time when health practitioners globally are becoming more certain they can cure any form of cancer (depending on the stage of discovery), the real fight for cancer-stricken people is to choose between two realities: Embrace the situation with humility and prepare themselves for the long-drawn medical procedures or give up and let it progress.

“If a person is unfortunate to get cancer, the most important thing is to maintain a positive attitude. Further, he or she should identify people from family or friends who will be standing with him or her throughout the procedures,” Dr. Ajit Saxena, consultant urologist and andrologist at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in the capital, told IANS.

“Next is to search for the best oncologist for the particular cancer treatment, depending on the organ affected. Whatever be the situation, it is best to consider things rationally, apply the mind to find the best treatment available and fight it out,” Dr Saxena said.

The next stage is to connect with cancer support groups online or offline to prepare yourself for the battle ahead.

“Life is priceless and there should be no option to give it up. Help in one form or the other can be offered to all patients at any stage of cancer. We may enable them to meet realistic goals and lead a better quality of life given the situation they are faced with,” Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, chairman, Max Institute of Oncology at Max Hospitals, emphasized.

Fully aware that you have been diagnosed with cancer, do not just go on blaming your fate. While more and more triggers are becoming increasingly known, it is still difficult to pinpoint one cause for any particular cancer.

Some of the known associated factors, however, are unhealthy lifestyle, tobacco, and alcohol consumption, viral infections, family history, and, of course, ageing.

“It is a consequence of the interplay of multiple factors such as bad habits, bad lifestyle, ageing, obesity, environmental, and genetic mutations,” notes Dr Sanjay Dudhat, head of surgical oncology from Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital in Mumbai.

If a patient is diagnosed with cancer, the first thing he or she requires is counselling. Proper disclosure of diagnosis, correcting patients’ myths about cancer, and explaining the proper treatment strategies to the patient and the relatives result in better acceptance and also reduces mental trauma.

“Proper treatment along with boosting the morale of the patient will get better results. So do not ever give up and fight cancer, regardless,” Dr Dudhat adds.

For those who are healthy and the disease does not run in the family, making simple changes can result in saying goodbye to cancer.

“Screening! Screening! Screening! Early diagnosis of any cancer makes all the difference between life and death,” says Dr Saxena, also a pioneer in robotic surgery (urology).

“In the case of prostate cancer, a simple blood test can detect early stages. Whole body scan can pick up early cancer stages. This is important particularly in cases where there is a family history of cancer,” he advises.

According to Dr Sidarth Sahni from department of surgical oncology at Indraprastha Apollo, women should be aware of complications in the breast.

“Every woman, irrespective of family history, needs to have a mammogram done every year after age 40 as breast cancer is the fastest growing disease in women in India,” he told IANS.

In middle age, avoid smoking and tobacco, cut alcohol consumption, hit the gym or join a neighborhood yoga and meditation session followed by brisk walk. And do not forget adding fruits and vegetables to your grocery list.

Maintain healthy weight and be physically active, get immunized against Hepatitis B and HPV viruses, have safe and protected sex and opt for regular health check ups, are some of the other steps doctors suggest.

For those diagnosed with cancer, reading “Being Mortal” helps. It’s a highly-acclaimed book by Dr Atul Gawande, a New York-based surgeon that carries several moving stories about his family, friends, and patients describing how someone could better live with age-related or otherwise serious illnesses.

“Arriving at an acceptance of one’s mortality and a clear understanding of the limits and the possibilities of medicine is a process, not an epiphany,” he writes.

Above all, wear a positive attitude. If the cancer has entered your life, give it a tough competition with a smile, grit, and determination.

“I strongly believe that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but about learning how to dance in the rain,” Dr Chaturvedi of Max Institute says. (Nishant Arora, IANS)

Next Story

Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world

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A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying enough at any time. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that Australians are increasingly being diagnosed with potentially harmless cancers, which if left undetected or untreated, may expose them to unnecessary surgeries and chemotherapy.

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, drew on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to compare how the lifetime risk of five cancers had changed between 1982 and 2012.

The study shows compared to 30 years ago, Australians are much more likely to experience a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

“Cancer treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, endocrine and chemotherapy carry risks of physical harms,” said the study authors from Bond University, University of Sydney and Griffith University in Australia.

“In the absence of overdiagnosis, these harms are generally considered acceptable. In the context of overdiagnosed cancers, however, affected individuals cannot benefit but can only be harmed by these treatments,” authors added.

The figures suggest that in 2012 24 per cent of cancers or carcinomas in men were overdiagnosed. These included 42 per cent of prostate cancers, 42 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

For women, 18 per cent of cancers or carcinomas were overdiagnosed, including 22 per cent of breast cancers, 58 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

The figures are significant because of the harm that can occur from cancer treatment of patients who would never have had symptoms in their lifetime.

The authors also refer to separate studies showing overdiagnosis could be linked to psychological problems.

“For example, men’s risk of suicide appears to increase in the year after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis,” researchers said.

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According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world.”

The findings also suggest an important role for health services such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in detecting potential overdiagnosis and alerting health policy decision makers to the problem early on. (IANS)