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)

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Smoking: Its Ill effects On Fertility and Child Birth

Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on fertility and consequently the quality of life in pregnancy

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Smoking
Smoking increases miscarriage rates in women. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on the fertility of both men and women, and consequently the quality of life in pregnancy. These health tips by expert can help. If a woman is a regular smoker, then it has a double effect on a woman’s fertility. Smoking can harm both the eggs and the uterus. It not only affects her egg quality, but can also have endometrial effect. Many studies too have shown that smoking can have negative effects on fertility, notes Dr Apurva Satish Amarnath, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility.

“In women, smoking decreases in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates by about half. Smoking also increases miscarriage rates. smoking also reduces the egg reserve of the woman which is not a reversible condition. For instance, if we are to compare two women with the same characteristics in terms of egg quality, quantity, BMI, AMH-level, among others, the chances are that the non-smoking woman will conceive faster than the smoking woman. If a woman quits smoking completely, then the chances of conception improve and the risk of miscarriage reduces,” Dr Apurva told IANSlife ahead of the International Anti-Tobacco Day on May 31.

From the male’s perspective, the carcinogen quality of cigarettes in general affects the motility of the sperm and excessive smoking can lead to the poor sperm count and other fertility problems. As compared to females, the condition can be reversible.

If a man completely gives up smoking the quality of his sperms can improve, resulting in his fertility improving in a span of 3-6 months after quitting completely, she said.

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Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on fertility. Pixabay

Smoking during pregnancy

According to Dr Sandeep Chadha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Motherhood Hospital, Noida, smoking during pregnancy are dangerous for both mother and the baby.

If a mother smokes, the 4,000 harmful chemicals present in each cigarette passes directly to the baby through the mother’s bloodstreams. In such cases, the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage goes up besides an increased risk of low birth weight, baby’s heart rate, breathing problem and premature delivery, Dr Sandeep told IANSlife.

These risks to the baby multiply with the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy. Not only for babies, but tobacco smoking is also harmful to the mother, increasing her risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and other conditions.

Passive smoking and childbirth

A study has presented that exposure to secondhand smoke was associated with lower IQs in children. For babies exposed to secondhand smoke, there is an increase in risk for developing asthma attacks, breathing problems, ear infections, impaired lung development, and coughing.

Smoking tobacco
Smoking tobacco decreases in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates. Pixabay

Children exposed to secondhand smoke require more ear tube surgeries than those who are not exposed. Sudden infant death syndrome is more common in babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy as well as in babies exposed to secondhand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoking by pregnant mothers is similar to first hand smoking.

Also Read: Patients of 80% COVID-19 Cases in India Exhibit Nil or Mild Symptoms: Health Minister

If you are planning to conceive, it’s better for the couple to kick the butt as early as possible. (IANS)

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COVID-19 Makes it Difficult to Manage Cancer Care: Oncologist

Dr Abhishek Shankar said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system

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Coronavirus outbreak has made it difficult to manage cancer care. Pixabay

By Dr. Abhishek Shankar

A recent report– ‘Cancer Care Delivery Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Disease – 19 (COVID-19) Outbreak’ published in the journal of Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention has pointed out that cancer patients are more susceptible to coronavirus than individuals without cancer as they are in an immunosuppressive state because of the malignancy and anticancer treatment. Oncologists should be more attentive to detect coronavirus infection early, as any type of advanced cancer is at much higher risk for unfavorable outcomes.

Author, Dr Abhishek Shankar, assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology at Lady Hardinge Medical College said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system.

“As we are having a lockdown in the whole country, patients can’t travel from one place to another. About 95 percent of the cancer care services are restricted to the urban areas but we also know that 70 percent of the people live in rural areas. So, there is a lot of disparity in cancer care. For cancer patients, stress is more disturbing for the patient rather than cancer itself,” Dr Shankar told ANI.

Cancer care
Dr. Shankar added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services. Pixabay

Also Read: Having a Child with Cancer Doesn’t Impact Parents’ Separation: Researchers

He added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services.

Talking about the report, Dr Shankar said, “We have published the paper on cancer care delivery, although guidance is that you shouldn’t delay and you should continue with the treatment. But there are many challenges that are coming right now. We have also advised cancer patients about the precautions they should take. Also, patients need to verify social media messages coming in from a credible source like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and WHO.”Furthermore, he suggests that persons suffering from cancer should get treated from nearby hospitals and try avoiding the delay.

The cancer specialist remarked that it is a dilemma for healthcare professionals as well as patients because there is an issue regarding what to follow and what not to. “To date, there is no scientific guideline regarding the management of cancer patients in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak,” Dr Shankar informed.

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Having a Child with Cancer Doesn’t Impact Parents’ Separation: Researchers

Being parents to a cancer patient kid doesn't trigger separation, say researchers

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cancer seperation
Chldhood cancer may not trigger seperation among parents according to researchers. Pixabay

Contrary to traditional belief, researchers now say that having a child with cancer did not appear to impact parents’ risk of separation or divorce or affect future family planning.

Childhood cancer can cause feelings of fear and uncertainty among parents and burden them with many practical challenges related to caregiving and work-related obligations, according to the study published in the journal Cancer.

For the findings, the research team from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre examined data from several registries in Denmark, linking information on parents of children diagnosed with cancer in 1982-2014 (7,066 children and 12,418 case parents) with parents of children without cancer (69,993 children and 125,014 comparison parents).

Parents were followed until 10 years after diagnosis, separation or divorce, death, emigration, or the end of 2017, whichever came first.

Overall, parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation and an eight per cent lower risk of divorce compared with parents of children without cancer.

Among parents of children with cancer, those who were younger had less education, and were unemployed had elevated risks for separation and divorce.

The findings showed that risks were also higher among parents of children diagnosed at a younger age.

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Parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation. Pixabay

The investigators also evaluated how the diagnosis of cancer in a child affects parents’ decisions on having another child.

Also Read: Lockdown: Here are 5 Occasions to Celebrate With Luxurious Meals at Home

They expected that parents of a child with cancer would have fewer children than parents of children without cancer and that they would postpone having another child.

This was not the case, however, as the researchers found that the childhood cancer experience did not negatively affect parents’ future family planning in Denmark.

The researchers noted that health care providers should communicate these reassuring and encouraging findings to parents, but that support should be offered if needed to improve family life in the long term. (IANS)