Cancer is the second leading cause of death in India. However, there has been a steady decline in cancer-related deaths over the last two decades. While this is great news, it makes it even more important that you know what to do if or when you are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer can be scary and overwhelming.
The word alone conjures images of pain, suffering and a grim prognosis. But with the right information, you can learn how to protect yourself from developing cancer, how to screen for it early and how to get Cancer treatment in Hyderabad. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about cancer: its symptoms, risk factors, treatments and much more.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is any disease in which abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. There are many types of cancer, and each type comes with its own set of symptoms and risks of recurrence. Many cancers can be cured if detected early, while there is always a risk of fatality. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent all cancers, but there are many things you can do to reduce your risk. The most common types of cancer in men are prostate, lung, colon, and liver cancers, while in women they are breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and liver cancer.
Everyone is at risk for developing cancer, though some people are at a higher risk than others. Risk factors for cancer can be either genetic or environmental. It’s important to understand the things that increase your risk of developing cancer so you can take steps to protect yourself and get regular screenings. Some risk factors that increase your risk of developing cancer include:
- Age - The older you are, the greater your risk of developing cancer. While kids can develop cancer, it is much more common in women, which is why breast cancer screening is highly recommended. People over the age of 50 are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than younger people.
- Family History - If someone in your family has been diagnosed with cancer, you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself. Breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma are some types of cancer that run in families. If you have a family history of cancer, talk to your doctor about screenings that can help detect the disease early, when it is most treatable.
- Smoking and Smoking-related Diseases - Smoking tobacco puts you at a much higher risk of developing many types of cancer, including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and bladder cancer. If you smoke, quitting as soon as possible can help reduce your risk.
- Obesity - Regularly eating a diet high in red and processed meat, sugar, and saturated fats, along with regularly not getting enough exercise, can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
How to Protect Yourself From Developing Cancer
It's not possible to completely avoid the risk of developing cancer, but there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk like seeking cancer treatment in Hyderabad. The best way to protect yourself from cancer is by making healthy choices and searching for breast screening near me. The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone follow these guidelines:
- Quit Smoking and Limit Exposure to Secondhand Smoke - Smoking tobacco products increases your risk of developing many types of cancer. Quitting as soon as possible can help reduce your risk and lower your chance of dying from the disease. Protect yourself and others by avoiding secondhand smoke.
- Stay at a Healthy Weight - Eating a healthy diet and regularly getting exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer.
- Limit Your Alcohol Consumption - Drinking alcohol in moderation is fine, but regularly consuming large amounts of alcohol can increase your risk of certain types of cancer.
- Wear Sunscreen and Protect Your Skin - Regularly applying sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays, which can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
- Continue to Get Regular Screenings - If you are at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer, you may need to get screened more often than others. Talk to your doctor about what screenings you need based on your risk factors.
Early Detection Strategies
The best way to fight cancer is to catch it as early as possible. For example, there are high chances of curing breast cancer with early breast cancer screening. New technology has given doctors the ability to detect cancer earlier and more accurately than ever before. There are many strategies you can use to try to detect cancer at its earliest stages. The sooner you are diagnosed with cancer, the more options you have for treatment. Early detection strategies include:
- Get Screened for Common Types of Cancer- The best way to detect cancer early is to get screened for the types of cancer that are most common in your area. Screenings can catch cancer in its earliest stages and are crucial to helping patients catch it before it’s too late.
Consequences of a Cancer Diagnosis
The consequence of a cancer diagnosis varies greatly depending on the type, severity, and location of cancer. Some people are cured of their cancer, while others are not. Some cancers are not fatal but can cause great pain and discomfort. There are some cancers that can be completely cured, while others can be fatal. It’s important to understand the dangers of a cancer diagnosis so you know what to expect and how to take care of yourself.
- Long-term Disability - A cancer diagnosis can cause long-term disability, even in people who are medically cured. Cancer survivors often have to deal with side effects from their treatment for the rest of their lives. These side effects can greatly impact your quality of life, including your ability to work.
- Increased Risk of Other Diseases - Cancer survivors have a higher risk of developing other diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and kidney failure.
Treatments and Their Side Effects
Cancer treatment typically involves 3 modalities - Chemo, Surgery and Radiation (check here to find the best Cancer Treatment in Andhra Pradesh ). There is a superspecialist for each of these modalities : Medical Oncologist for Chemotherapy, surgical oncologist for Surgery and Radiation Oncologist for Radiation. Once diagnosed, you would typically meet a medical oncologist first and she/he would consult with the other two to get you the right treatment plan. (Check here for the best medical oncologists in Hyderabad)
While most treatments can effectively destroy cancer cells, they can also destroy healthy cells as well. It’s important to know what side effects you might experience so you can be prepared and know how to manage them.
- Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells and slow their growth. Chemotherapy drugs can be injected into your body or administered orally, but they can also cause a wide range of side effects, such as nausea, hair loss, and fatigue.
- Radiation - Radiation is a treatment that uses high-energy waves to kill cancer cells. It is often used in tandem with chemotherapy to treat cancers in multiple parts of the body.
- Surgery - Surgery is a treatment that removes the cancerous cells and nearby healthy tissue. Most surgery doesn’t require an extended absence from work, but there are exceptions.
Cancer is a scary disease that can occur in many parts of the body, though it can be treated. You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough exercise, and avoiding excess sun exposure. If you do get diagnosed with cancer, be sure to speak with your doctor about the best treatment option for you. With Cancer Clinics being available in major district Headquarters (locations), the patient doesn’t have to travel all the way to Hyderabad anymore and can seek consultation at the nearest Cancer Clinics.