Doctor in Sarvodaya Hospital
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Why is Cancer the biggest Threat to the YOUNG in India?
There are fewer Indians who have successfully battled Cancer and have emerged successful. Yuvraj Singh, the legendary cricketer, who was diagnosed with a rare cancer at 29, survived due to an early detection. Cancer cases in India are not as many as they are in the developed world. However, due to late detection the survival rate in the country is far worse. Particularly, we are losing our youth to Cancer. Most tobacco (pan masala) related cancers and child cancers go undetected until very late.
Few cancers like cervical cancer and breast cancer which affect women of any age, are curable, however, due to lack of awareness and timely screening, many Indian women succumb to these cancers. The most common sites for cancer among men are lung, prostate, colon, rectum, stomach and liver while that among women are breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix and stomach.
In proportion to our population, we lack the right infrastructure nationwide. esp in the northern and north eastern region, there is a dearth of good cancer facilities, where radiation, care or treatment can be given. Not even one third of cancer patients are alive beyond 5 years after their diagnosis in India, and about 71% of cancer deaths occur in patients in their prime productive years — between the ages of 30 to 69 years.
“Most Indians believe that cancer is generally incurable and that it should be kept secret from neighbors and family.” - Dr Paul Goss, MD, Harvard University.
All these factors have contributed to a very high mortality rate. No wonder Cancer is dreaded in the country. Investment, infrastructure, lifestyles as well as mindsets need to change if we were to contain the Cancer mortality rate. While you need to watch out for early signs of cancer, here are the lifestyle changes every individual esp. all youth must adopt to avoid cancer.
Avoid Tobacco - both smoking and chewing.
Reduce alcohol intake - Save your organs from deteriorating.
Limit UV ray exposure from the sun - Keeps your skin safe.
Maintain a healthy diet - Include foods rich in Vitamins, minerals and fiber which nourish your body and build immunity.
Increase your level of fitness - Maintain a good bodyweight. Additional flab invites a host of troubles, that includes variety of cancers.
Seeking regular medical checkup or screening - This is the only way to prevent and get detected early on.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of premature death in the world. Cancer usually attacks the human body without any warning. However, most cancers start showing early signs. Keeping this in mind, one should learn how to recognize the early signs of cancer in order to get a timely treatment.
Here are 7 warning signs of cancer that one should be familiar with:
1. Unusual blood discharge from the body- unusual bleeding from any opening in the body is not a healthy sign. The presence of blood in the stool or blood in phlegm while coughing are some of the early signs of cancer. Bloody discharge from the vagina or from the nipples is also worrisome. Consult a doctor immediately if this happens.
2. Change in bowel and bladder movement - people experiencing a sudden change in bowel movement and bladder discharge are advised to visit a doctor immediately. Blood in stool, chronic diarrhea, and change in color of the stool can point to colon cancer. Blood in the urine can be an early warning sign of bladder cancer.
3. Sudden weight loss and onset of fever - experiencing a sudden weight loss, say of 5 kgs, in a matter of days is considered to be one of the earliest signs of cancer. A sudden onset of fever is also considered a sign.
4. Frequent indigestion and pain while swallowing - most indigestion is credited to an upset stomach while pain during swallowing is considered to be a sign of a sore throat. However, these warning signs could point to the onset of cancer as well.
5. Lump in breast or any other part of the body - forming of a lump in breasts or any other part of the body like the armpits, testicles or soft tissue can be a precursor to cancer. People are advised to visit a doctor if they discover any lumps on their body.
6. Persistent cough and sudden change in voice - a cough that is refusing to go away maybe a sign of lung cancer. A sudden change in voice maybe an early warning sign of cancer of the larynx (throat).
7. Sudden change in a wart or a mole - if you observe a sudden change in the size, color or texture of a mole or wart on your body, it is advisable that you get it checked as it could be a sign of cancer.
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