Of all the diseases that plague mankind, none of them has caused more panic than cancer. The number of myths and stigmas attached to this disease is mind-boggling even though there are a variety of treatments for them. Officially, World Cancer Day is celebrated on February 4 of every year to increase awareness and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. The theme this year is dispelling the myths and misconceptions about cancer.
We at health.india.com however feel that is not enough and we have decided to hold a month long awareness drive and have christened February Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we will extensively cover everything there is about cancer – prevention, treatment, symptoms, inspirational stories and much more to increase awareness among our readers. So please join us in our War on Cancer because we assure that disease doesn’t stand a chance against the indomitable human spirit. And please share these articles as far and wide as possible, on Facebook and Twitter and who knows, we might just end up saving a life or two!
What is cancer?
Cancer is a group of over one hundred diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cell growth. Ina healthy body cells grow, die and are replaced in a very controlled way. Damage or change in the genetic material of cells by environmental or internal factors result in cells that don’t die and continue to multiply until a massive cancer or a tumour develops. Most cancer related deaths are due to metastasis, malignant cells that penetrate into the circulatory system and establish colonies in other parts of the body.
Another major issue with the disease is people don’t realise the symptoms of cancer until it’s too late or they don’t realise that they are likely to get the disease. Most cancer victims don’t seek help until the disease has reached a more advanced stage which makes treatment and recovery harder. Cancer like any other disease has causes both intrinsic and extrinsic. Tobacco use, drinking, exposure to harmful radiation, genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, ageing and even unsafe sex can cause cancer.
Read this to find out if you’re likely to get cancer? Here are also some symptoms of the disease you should never ignore. Here’s what you should do in case you discover someone has cancer. Here are some things you can do to prevent cancer.
Different types of cancer
The term ‘cancer’ is broadly used to categorise all these diseases and there are over 200 varieties. Some of the more common ones are:
- Breast cancer
- Leukaemia – the blood cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Oral cancer
- Prostate cancer
Treatments can be broadly categorised into three categories: Chemotherapy, Radiation and Surgery. The treatment methods usually depends on the type of cancer growth, stage till which the disease has progressed and the location of the cancer.
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Several alternative therapists also claim that they can cure cancer:
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Cancer and India
The disease has become more common in the country in the last decade or so perhaps a by-product of rapid urbanisation, increased smoking, drinking and a more sedentary lifestyle. While it’s hard to pin a number, it’s believed that around one million people get cancer every year and this number could rise significantly if measures aren’t taken.
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While it’s true that there are many uncontrollable factors that cause cancers like the environment or genetics there are majority of other lifestyle choices like tobacco-use, smoking, drinking, obesity, etc. that causes cancer.
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So let us make sure that we drill in the message that cancer like any other disease is preventable and treatable. Stay aware, stay alive. The War on Cancer must be won. There can be no other outcome!