Health and Beyond Foundation

Conquering Cancer- Early Screening holds the key !!

Whenever the word “Cancer” is mentioned, it immediately evokes feelings of fear, panic and despair. Cancer is always considered synonyms to death among general population. With great scientific advancements, it is very much possible to accurately diagnose and treat many forms of cancers successfully, especially, at Stage 1 and 2; more over the survival rates for cancers such as prostate, breast, bladder and kidney have also improved over the years; another cancer such as Childhood leukaemia has 70 per cent survival rate. According to the National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020, one in nine people are likely to develop cancer in his/her lifetime and Lung and breast cancers were the leading sites of cancer in males and females, respectively. The incidence of cancer cases is estimated to increase by 12.8 per cent in 2025 as compared to 2020. There are many factors which can cause cancer such as family history, obesity, sedentary life style, unhealthy food habits (diet high on fats; refined carbohydrates; processed food etc.) smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, stress, exposure to environmental pollutants, chemicals & fertilizers, occupational hazards such as people working in coal or stone mines, cement factories etc. to name a few. Awareness among general population to watch out for early signs of cancers and their regular screening is an effective strategy to prevent and successfully treat them. Although there are array of symptoms for 200 types of cancers, some common signs include  unexplained weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, change in bowel habits, unexplained bleeding in urine or stools; between periods or after confirmed menopause; moles of irregular/asymmetrical shape, lumps, persistent cough for more than 3 weeks etc. Adopting a healthy life style involving regular physical exercise, mediation, balanced diet, avoiding smoking, having supportive relationships and undergoing regular screening go a long way in keeping the cancers away. Screening for cancer means undergoing tests to detect signs of cancer even before there is any manifestation of any symptoms. Studies show that some screening tests help find cancer at an early stage, which make them much easier to treat and possibly cure them. Though cancer screening is usually recommended for people when they reach their 40s, sometimes people having increased risk of cancer also may be advised by their doctor to undergo cancer screening earlier.

The decision to go for cancer screening can be quite scary and can trigger distress. It is best to consult your regular healthcare provider to understand the right time, type of test(s) needed and what to expect in order to mentally prepare oneself for the screening.