Hearing the word cancer from a doctor can be a devastating feeling for someone who is living a healthy life and is not into any kind of wrong habits. Cancer has been the leading cause of mortality not only in India but across the globe. World Cancer Day which is coming on February 4th is celebrated with the common goal of working together to fight off the disease through early detection, timely treatment, and emotional support.
The day was first celebrated in the year 2000 to raise awareness about cancer and encourage its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. There are 100 different types of cancer that can be seen in humans. The day also promotes the positive feeling that there can be a life beyond cancer.
The burden of cancer
The number of Indians suffering from cancer is projected to increase to 29.8 million in 2025 from 26.7 million in 2021. The highest incidence last year was in the North (2,408 patients per 100,000) and the Northeast (2,177 per 100,000). It was higher among men.
According to a report by the Indian Council for Medical Research, seven cancers that accounted for more than 40% of the total disease burden are lung (10.6%), breast (10.5%), esophagus (5.8%), mouth (5.7%), stomach (5.2%), liver (4.6%) and cervix uteri (4.3%).
Describing the future projections, National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) suggests men will contribute to 14.7 Million Years of Life Lost (YLLs), 0.72 million Years Lived with Disability (YLDs), and 15.5 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in 2025. The figure for women will be 13.6 Million YLLs, 0.69 Million YLDs, and 14.3 Million DALYs.
As per the study, Mizoram, Delhi, and Meghalaya had the highest cancer DALYs and the most vulnerable demographic are people in the 65–69-year age group.
Factors causing cancers
The causative factors for an increasing number of cancers are really bothersome. Earlier tobacco and alcohol abuse were the major causes of cancer. But currently, the factors that are responsible for such a spike are
Adulteration in food
Consumption of packaged food with harmful preservatives
Excessive consumption of junk food
There is a need to spread cancer awareness even among people of low socioeconomic status so that incidences can be reduced and people affected by the disease can be encouraged to live a better quality of life. It’s our duty, and responsibility to become the voice of voiceless people simply living tragic lives with cancer.
Early diagnosis and cancer screening
One of the best ways to prevent cancer is to be aware of the symptoms, identify it in its early stages, and eradicate it completely from the body before malignant cells affect other cells or organs of the body.
Early diagnosis would help in identifying symptomatic individuals as soon as possible and give them the best effective course of treatment. On the other hand, cancer screening would help in the presumed detection of the disease in the high-risk group.
In fear of the result, many people are reluctant to go for cancer screening. They would prefer to remain ignorant than face the harsh truth. Ignoring the truth won’t help them but getting detected earlier would help them in a way that they can stop the progress of the disease and start the course of the treatment plan before it gets too advanced.