National Cancer Awareness Day: Here's all you need about cancer diagnosis and treatment

National Cancer Awareness Day is celebrated on November 7 to raise awareness about the deadly disease that claims hundreds of lives every year

Dr Suhas AagreUpdated: Saturday, November 05, 2022, 06:02 PM IST
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India is home to millions of cancer patients, and the cases have further increased during the pandemic. Breast, lung, cervical, uterine, prostate, and oral cancer are some of the common cancers in the country that need to be detected early and treated on time.

Currently, the number of cancer patients is rising at a rapid rate in the country. Hence, it is the need of the hour to recognise various signs and symptoms of cancer on time, and then seek immediate medical attention. Neglecting the symptoms of cancer can land the person in trouble leading to higher morbidity and mortality rates. Timely intervention is key to tackling cancer and improving the quality of life.

How cancer is diagnosed

It is a no-brainer that if cancer is diagnosed and treated early then one will have better chances of survival. Certain cancers such as skin, breast, mouth, testicles, prostate, and rectum can be detected via routine self-exam or other screening measures even before the symptoms turn serious. The diagnosis is done with the help of a physical examination and then one’s medical history is taken into consideration. One will also be asked to give blood, urine, and stool samples in order to look for any abnormalities. If there is tumour suspicion then one will be asked to opt for an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or even an ultrasound to check the size and location of the cancer.

Furthermore, a biopsy is done wherein a tissue sample is taken to look for the tumour and study whether it is cancerous. If the tumour is cancerous then one will be detected with cancer and the expert will know whether it has spread to other body parts. One can then confirm the diagnosis with the expert and initiate treatment as soon as possible. Do not delay the treatment as doing so can be fatal.

Treatments for cancer

After the diagnosis, the doctor will decide the appropriate line of treatment for based on the location, size, and stage of the tumour. The treatment will be either surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. It is possible to fight cancer with new breakthrough treatments and improve your quality of life. Targeted therapies are widely recommended when it comes to tackling cancer. It can be used alone or even in combination with other treatments. It is essential to speak to an expert who will guide you regarding this.

Immunotherapy is also widely used in treatment of various cancers, notably lung, kidney, head and neck cancers. Apart from that, one will also have to follow certain lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise. It is better to go for regular check-ups and follow-ups after cancer treatment to lead a healthy life.

However, your expert will evaluate you thoroughly and then only decide the line of treatment for you. Do not take over-the-counter medication as doing so can be risky for you. Consult your doctor immediately if you have any doubts regarding the treatment or prognosis of cancer.

The last word

Those who undergo cancer treatment may sometimes get stressed, anxious, or even depressed. It will be a good idea to speak to the counsellor or join any support groups to battle cancer and defy it. Try to stay stress-free and follow the instructions given by the doctor. Don’t worry, you will surely be able to beat cancer. Cancer can be dealt with if detected at an early stage. So, be attentive when it comes to your health.

(Dr Suhas Aagre is Consultant Medical Oncologist and Haemato-Oncologist at Asian Cancer Institute)

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