Tuesday October 22, 2019

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

Experts say, Long-Term Exposure to Asbestos can Trigger Lung Cancer

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the potential to cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health groups

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Cancer
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the potential to cause Cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health groups. Pixabay

After the US health regulators found traces of asbestos in samples from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) baby powder and forced the company to recall 33,000 bottles of talcum powder, physicians in India have warned that long-term exposure of asbestos can trigger lung cancer in children.

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the potential to cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health groups.

According to media reports, customers should stop using powder from the affected J&J batch ‘immediately’.

In its defence, the 133-year-old J&J said it had launched a review and prior tests have not found asbestos.

The firm is facing thousands of lawsuits from people who claim its talc products caused cancer, which J&J has strongly denied, said media reports.

“The only protection we have against asbestos is knowledge, vigilance and care for our children. If the lungs of children are pre-mature then they are more prone to get affected by asbestos,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Consultant Respiratory Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS.

“Children, who have accidentally inhaled asbestos, might see the effect after many years. Some can even develop lung cancer. In the advanced stage, one can also suffer from peritoneal mesothelioma,” Chawla explained.

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Children, who have accidentally inhaled asbestos, might see the effect after many years. Some can even develop lung Cancer. Pixabay

The USFDA has been testing dozens of products for asbestos, a known carcinogen amid rising public concern.

In an earlier statement, J&J said that out of an abundance of caution, “it is initiating a voluntary recall in the United States of a single lot of its Johnson’s Baby Powder in response to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test indicating the presence of sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination (no greater than 0.00002%) in samples from a single bottle purchased from an online retailer”.

“Despite the low levels reported and in full cooperation and collaboration with the FDA, JJCI is initiating this voluntary recall of Lot #22318RB of Johnson’s Baby Powder, from which the tested sample was taken,” the company added.

According to Anubhava Patel, Consultant Neonatology and Paediatric at Motherhood Hospital in Noida, asbestos can cause restrictive lung disease and severe respiratory insufficiency.

“Long term inhalation can cause lung cancer (mesothelioma). It’s an occupational health hazard. These days asbestos is found in talcum powder and it is harmful to the kids,” Patel told IANS.

According to a case study on 33 patients, published recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, exposure to asbestos-tainted talcum powder may cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that affects tissues lining internal organs.

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Exposure to asbestos-tainted talcum powder may cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly Cancer that affects tissues lining internal organs. Pixabay

“Exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powders can cause mesothelioma. Clinicians should elicit a history of talcum powder usage in all patients presenting with mesothelioma,” the study noted.

“Mesothelioma is considerably a new condition for India, with the first case being reported in 2015. Much of India’s asbestos-related health is primarily occupational and second-hand exposure,” said Manish Mannan, Pediatrics, Paras Hospital in Gurugram.

He added that kids who work with the material in factories are often the victims of diseases derived from asbestos exposure.

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“Patients may not develop symptoms of mesothelioma as these symptoms are typically only discovered in the later stages of the disease. Treatment involved either some form of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy,” Mannan added. (IANS)