Wednesday October 17, 2018

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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Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine Goes To Cancer Therapy Researchers From US, Japan

The prize comes with an award of $1.1 million.

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Nobel prize
Nobel Committee of the Karolinska Institute announces 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden. VOA

The 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Japan’s Kyoto University for their discoveries in cancer therapy.

“Allison and Honjo showed how different strategies for inhibiting the brakes on the immune system can be used in the treatment of cancer,” the Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute said in a statement on awarding the prize.

The prize for physiology or medicine is first Nobel Prize awarded each year.

Nobel Prize
Nobel Peace Prize Bearing Likeness of Alfred Nobel

The prizes for physics, chemistry, and peace will also be announced this week. The literature prize will not be given this year because of a sexual misconduct scandal at the body that decides the award. The Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences will be announced on Monday, October 8.

The prize comes with an award of $1.1 million.

Nobel Prize
A combination photo shows Ph.D. James P. Allison of MD Anderson Cancer Center at The University of Texas in this picture obtained from MD Anderson Cancer Center (R) and Kyoto University Professor Tasuku Honjo in Kyoto, in this photo taken by Kyodo.. VOA

Who are they?

James P. Allison was born 1948 in Alice, Texas, USA. He received his PhD in 1973 at the University of Texas, Austin. From 1974-1977 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California. From 1977-1984 he was a faculty member at University of Texas System Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas; from 1985-2004 at University of California, Berkeley and from 2004-2012 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. From 1997-2012 he was an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Since 2012 he has been professor at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas and is affiliated with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Also Read: Ovarian Caner Risks Cut in Half With a New Birth Control Pill: Study

Tasuku Honjo was born in 1942 in Kyoto, Japan. In 1966 he became an MD, and from 1971-1974 he was a research fellow in the USA at Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore and at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. He received his PhD in 1975 at Kyoto University. From 1974-1979 he was a faculty member at Tokyo University and from 1979-1984 at Osaka University. Since 1984 he has been professor at Kyoto University. He was a faculty dean from 1996-2000 and from 2002-2004 at Kyoto University. (VOA)