Cancer touches the lives of most people. Each of us has a relative, a family member or a friend who has some or other form of cancer.
Many people believe that cancer is unavoidable and untreatable.
This is not true.
The 5 point strategy for beating cancer.
- Get to know the risk factors.
- Know and heed the early warning symptoms and signs.
- Ensure early detection.
- Seek medical help early.
- Change your lifestyle.
- Go for screening for cancer regularly.
KNOW THE RISK FACTORS
Medical scientists are constantly trying to unravel the mystery of cancer. While we do not yet have the full answer as to the cause, we have identified certain factors which play a part in causing cancer or which indicate patients who are more likely to get particular tumours.
These are some of the risk factors.
Genes and family history: Some cancers certainly seem to have a genetic basis. There are tumours, which seem to occur in families. This alerts us to the need for monitoring of the members of those families.
Eating, drinking and breathing: Somebody once said, “you are what you eat”, I would extend that to say that you are what you eat, and drink and breathe in.
Eating: Eating too much and being overweight is a risk factor.
What we eat is important. Great times have been written about the part that diet play in causing cancer. There seems to be agreement that a diet rich in saturated fats increases the risk for cancer.
Drinking: Drinking too much alcohol is an important risk factor.
Breathing: The very air we breathe may expose us to a risk of cancer, especially if it is polluted by cigarette smoke. Smoking is related not only to lung cancer but also to cancer of the lip, the throat, the bladder, the cervix and others. Industrial smog is also dangerous and people who live near asbestos mines have a high risk of getting an unusual tumors that affects the lungs.
Exposure to harmful rays: Sunbathing may give a healthy glow but it is a risk factor for cancer. X-rays are also potentially harmful.
Chemical factors: Many chemicals are known to be ‘carcinogenic’ (causing cancer). People who handle chemicals in their work or hobbies should get to know which are dangerous and they should observe safety precautions.
Infections: A number of different infections are implicated as risk factors for cancer. These include HIV and others.
WARNING SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Patients who are diagnosed as having cancer have often had symptoms for a long time but either ignored the symptoms or have been too afraid to go to a doctor and possibly have their worst fears confirmed. This is very sad because when cancer is diagnosed early, the chance of complete cure is greatly improved.
THE SEVEN CARDINAL SIGNS OF CANCER
The word CAUTION is the key. (Mnemonic)
Each letter stands for a particular sign.
Change in bowel or bladder habits.
Asore that does not heal.
Unusual bleeding or discharge.
Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere.
Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.
Obvious change in a wart or mole.
Nagging cough or hoarseness.