The incidence of cancer is rising in India and it is already the second biggest cause of death in Indian population (after CVD). There are no clear cut cancer symptoms, which are there in all cancers of any site. So what can you do for prevention of cancer in your family or at least detect it early?
While the list of what all can give you cancer is long, often people with no significant risks also get cancer. Therefore it is best to make a habit of getting cancer screens as per expert advice by cancer prevention agencies. Often, even doctors fail to counsel about cancer screening, so it is best that you take charge of this yourself!
Five commonest cancers among Indian men are lip and mouth (oral cavity), Lung, Stomach, Large intestine (colorectum) and pharynx (throat). Among women, cervix of uterus, breast, colorectum, lip/oral cavity, and ovary are the commonest sites of cancer
What is striking in these facts is that barring lung, ovarian and stomach cancer, all other top cancers listed here can be detected early by standard screening tests. Early diagnosis leads to very significant cure rates and decrease in mortality due to cancer. But, in India more than half of all cancers are first detected in advanced stages
So what are screening tests? These are tests done in individuals who do not have any signs or symptoms of the disease for which the test is being done. Thus, screening tests are especially useful in detecting early disease which has not yet troubled the patients. Expert associations of doctors and health agencies world over collect data and analyze the effectiveness of these tests, before recommending them for population or special risk groups.
Such validated screening tests include:
Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer in Indian women and one women dies of cervical cancer in every 8 minutes in India. The guidelines for PAP smear are the following:
How to do SBE video
Even though these tests are recommended for high risk people, even people with no high risk behavior get oral cavity and lip cancers. Therefore, it is a good idea for everyone to start practicing self examination every month
Discuss with your doctor
Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
Stool DNA test (sDNA) every 3 years
Colonoscopy every 10 years, is the best, otherwise one of the following can be done
Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of screening for prostate cancer by PSA, since the benefits are not clearly established
Men who have history of a first degree relative having had prostate cancer before age 65, should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45
IF THERE ARE ANY ABNORMALITIES, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY
These seven warning signs of cancer are:
Thus, keeping cancer away demands a multi pronged strategy, so make these changes and take these steps today