With the growing and ageing population, increasing sedentary lifestyle and deteriorating eating habits there is an unprecedented increase in the number of cancer patients on an annual basis. Recent advances in understanding cancer have helped us develop better strategies to prevent and treat cancers. We are better equipped to address risk factors such as smoking, obesity, physical inactivity etc. Almost two-thirds of cancers are because of such lifestyle issues, some of them are also caused by pathogens and few because of genetic factors.
There are more than 22 lakh people living in India with a diagnosis of cancer, with more than 11 lakh new cases of cancers being diagnosed each year. Almost 8 lakh patients lose the battle with cancer in India every year and it is the second leading cause of death in the country (after cardiovascular disease).
To raise awareness, Dr Alok Narang, Surgical Oncologist, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, said, “It is imperative for people to understand that bad lifestyle choices along with consumption of tobacco, alcohol and smoking, doubles the chances of cancer. Hence, it is very important that we make changes in our lifestyle and it is equally important to have annual full-body check-ups as a part of our habit for individuals above forty years age. This helps to diagnose the diseases in early stages, get simpler treatment at a lesser cost with much better outcomes.
Nowadays with the advancement of technology and medical intervention it has also become possible to treat cancer at its fourth stage with good survival rates though the complete cure is still a challenge, due to the complexity of the disease.”
Awareness of various management strategies available to fight with the disease including diagnosis, staging, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal, targeted and immunotherapy goes a long way in making the right choices for prevention as well as treatment. The symptoms of cancer are quite like other diseases, therefore one mantra which works for timely diagnosis is that if there is any symptom persisting for four weeks, one, should check with their doctor and rule out cancer. It’s a well-established fact that delay in diagnosis leads to stage progression. As the stage of cancer progresses from stage I to IV, the treatment is more complex, and the results are poor.