Cancer is a progressive disease which starts from the mutation of a single cell and if left untreated, may be fatal.
When it comes to gender, women are more vulnerable to certain types of cancer. Breast cancer and cervical cancer are two types of cancer which are responsible for most cancer-related deaths in women in India.
"In fact, a quarter of the world's cervical cancer patients live in India. The recent reports of CONCORD 3 study have found that a breast cancer patient in India has 66% chance of surviving five years versus patients in Australia whose chance of survival would be 89%. Another alarming fact is that a quarter of the world's cervical cancer patients are in India," said Dr. Sapna Nangia, Sr. Consultant (Radiation Oncology).
Early detection of cancer leads to higher chances of successful treatment. Breast cancer and cervical cancer are no different. Vigilance, awareness, and proactiveness are the need of the hour.
On the occasion of World Cancer Day, Dr. Nangia highlights few things that women can do to remain resolute against breast and cervical cancer.
Cancer has been linked to obesity, smoking, alcohol, poor hygiene, hormonal issues, polluted environment, unhealthy dietary habits and uneven sleeping patterns. It is imperative to be aware of cancer, its symptoms, causes and the essential need to be vigilant for the sake your health, especially if your life is hectic and stressful.
Dismissing cancer out of hand can have grave consequences. If you or anyone in your family has any history of breast cancer then the susceptibility of getting cancer increases. A person needs to be aware of their family's medical history as well. There is no replacement for awareness.
Breast cancer usually develops as a lump in the breast tissue. It is imperative that every woman develops a self-examination routine to check her breast area for any lump formation. Similarly, cervical cancer too has some warning signs which every woman must watch out for- excessive vaginal bleeding, especially in between the period cycle, the formation of watery or frothy colored discharge, pain in pelvic area during sexual intercourse, etc. These symptoms may be accompanied by fatigue, weight loss, swelling, pain concentration in one area of the body, etc.
One needs to actively look out for their health. It will not take more than 10 minutes of your time, but it can go a long way in saving you hundreds of hours in treatment.
Most women put off check-up even if they have symptoms of pain, fatigue or even colored discharge, lump in the breast, nipple discharge or anything which may appear out of the ordinary. Being busy, stressed, lazy or simple forgetfulness are not acceptable excuses when it comes to taking care of your health. The tests recommended for cancer screening are bilateral mammogram for the screening of breast cancer and a PAP smear with or without testing for HPV for cervical cancer.
-Meet your doctor
It is highly recommended that a woman after 30 years of age start opting for regular check-ups with her ob-gyn not only for her reproductive health but also to screen for cancer. While googling your symptoms is a more attractive prospect, it is not a replacement for the guidance which a doctor can provide.