Cancer, also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. More than 10 million people each year die from cancer. Experts project cancer deaths to rise to 2030 if we do not act now. Millions of deaths can be prevented each year by raising awareness and educating people about it. Medicircle is conducting an interview series on cancer to spread awareness about the disease.
Dr. Keyur Gutte, is an independently practicing surgical oncologist with 20 years of quality experience in Cancer Care & General Surgery, having trained in K.E.M. Hospital, India & National Health Service [NHS] hospitals, U.K. He has expertise in the Head & Neck, Breast & Endocrine, Upper GI & Colorectal, Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic, Gynaecologic & Genitourinary, Lymphoma & Sarcoma Cancer Surgery
Cancer Cure Chances
Dr.Gutte mentions, “The most common types of cancer are breast, oral and cervical cancer. Depending on the stage, the best chance of cure is of patients suffering from oral cancer followed by breast and cervical cancer.”
Oral Cancer is Curable
Dr.Gutte informs, “Oral cancer is a peculiar kind of cancer caused by tobacco and alcohol consumptions. Oral cancer has got good chances of cure. Oral cancer is the only preventable type of cancer that we are dealing with due to the location of cancer which is in the oral cavity. Oral cancer is treated with surgery and followed by radiation even in advanced stages.”
Breast Cancer More Difficult to Cure Compared to Oral Cancer
Dr.Gutte sheds light on breast cancer and its cure rate by mentioning, “The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in India due to increased detection, change in lifestyle and urbanization. Cure rates of breast cancer are relatively low because of its spread to other parts of the body leading to metastasis as compared to oral cancer which is localized to the oral cavity during the duration of progression. Hence it involves local area and local treatment related to oral cancer while breast cancer can affect other body organs in advanced stages and is difficult to treat,” says Dr. Gutte.
Screening of Cervical Cancer at Grassroots has Ensured Good Results
Dr. Gutte informs uterine cancer was the leading cancer in India 20 years ago. But in the last 20 years, the rate of cervical cancer has gone down rapidly because of improvement in hygiene practices and advancements of cervical vaccine which is available. Also, there is awareness regarding screening of cervical cancer which has been going around at grass root levels for many years now. There is no such screening for breast cancer such as mammography at grassroots levels. Whereas oral cancer screening is not effective because of tobacco habits which are commonly seen. So prevention of smoking and tobacco chewing works for oral cancer and screening works for breast and cervical cancer,” observes Dr. Gutte.
Metastasis of Cancer can Affect the Cure Rate
Dr.Gutte mentions “Once any cancer gains access to the bloodstream and lymphatics, the stage advances will lead to a fall in cure rates. Cancer tends to spread rapidly. So the cure rate depends on the type and stage of cancer”.
Reasons for High Cancer Rates
Dr.Gutte emphasizes “Cancer is multifactorial. Genetics, environmental factors, habits, lifestyle, pollution, stress, and diet are very important causes of cancer. There is a high number of cancers in India due to urbanization. Apart from the causes, we should not forget that increasing awareness and increase in the rate of detection, availability of resources like diagnostic centers has caused the figures of cancer to lead disproportionately high.”
All Cancers are not Hereditary and Cancer is Preventable
All cancer has some relation with gene mutations and alterations in genetics. Specific mutations are carried out in genetic structure. Hereditary cancer means it is passed on from one generation to another and it may or may not manifest in the next generation. Some cancer may run in families. All cancers are not hereditary. People can prevent this disease by bringing lifestyle changes and maintaining good habits,” advises Dr. Gutte.
(edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)