Dr. Arun R Warrier Consultant - Medical Oncology
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2018
Fear of cancer stems from the gory image of a crab which won’t leave you after bite.This was maybe true decades back when most cases were diagnosed at a late stage.Availability of better diagnostic methodologies like CT scan, biopsy at nearby hospitals have thankfully lead to an increase in early diagnosis.This allows to remove the tumor completely from solid organs and give them chemo or radiation therapy.
Screening methodologies like mammogram and colonoscopy have also become widely available.General public is increasingly aware of avoiding carcinogenic tobacco, alcohol etc as well as the necessity to have a balanced diet and exercise. This will surely reduce the incidence of cancer in the future.Surgery has become less radical with conservation of breast, limb becoming the standard of care.Collateral damage of chemo can be reduced by targeted therapy. Precision oncology is the catchword. Easy availability has dramatically reduced the costs,but still a large section finds it difficult to have quality cancer care.
The real fear in cancer care is the delay in diagnosis and initiation of treatment. Even when there is a growing lump or unusual bleeding people tend to wait over the same. They are afraid of tests like scan or biopsy. In reality these are simple outpatient tests which cause minimal discomfort. In an educated society, 80% of breast lumps are less than 2cm, while this is a paltry 20% in India. With more accessible health care services, we can definitely expect a rise in early diagnosis. Patients are also mislead by the large amount of misinformation being spread through media- printed and electronic. By the time they finish so called “magical non harmful natural” remedies tumor would have spread to distant organs , nullifyi chances of complete cure. A holistic multidisciplinary cancer care centre is pivotal to endure evidence based treatment.
It’s the responsibility of society to build and promote scientific treatment. The individual has to ensure adherence to protocol based treatment. From this stems the motto of cancer awareness day- I can, We can..
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