Once you know your enemies inside out, it becomes easier to fight them!
Winning or losing is different, but if you don’t know who you are fighting against, then defeat is absolutely certain!
Cancer is a common enemy of humanity and has reached gigantic proportions of causing destruction not only in India, but across the world. It is the second biggest reason for mortality and disability all over the world with estimates that almost 20 million people will be suffering from this disease by 2030. Even in India, it is the cause of almost half a million deaths every year and the numbers are only increasing.
Cancer affects the entire body.
The major kinds of Cancer are:
Breast, Cervix, Lip and Oral Activity, Lung, Stomach, Oesophagus, Liver, Ovary, Larynx, Prostate, Gallbladder, Thyroid and Pancreas. Out of these the most common are Breast, Cervix, Oral and Lung Cancer, causing the death of more than 50% of female and male patients.
Despite being a major disease for many decades, there is hardly any awareness about it outside of the major four metros of the country. In small towns and villages, there is still a social stigma attached to it and most people live in a denial about the whole scenario. It is still considered a life threatening disease contrary to the fact that with right and timely treatment, cancer can be cured!
As a nation with healthcare infrastructure in doldrums, people in India are not used to considering preventive health checkups that can help in diagnosing the disease in the initial stages. We only go to a doctor when we are sick instead of getting routine checkups to find any unwanted developments in the body. This leads to late discovery of the disease.
As per a study, almost 46% of the patients are diagnosed at the second stage, whereas almost 18% are at third or above stages of the disease. As much as 38% of patients didn’t even know they are suffering from cancer at the time of diagnosing. This results in late diagnosis, lower chances of survival and higher cost of treatment.
As many as 18% of the patients don’t start the treatment even after getting diagnosed due to various reasons including social stigmas, not enough resources to manage treatment, etc. as many as 27% patients reported not getting the treatment due to prohibitive costs!
There are no fixed reasons except lifestyle and genetic factors. Genetics can’t be controlled voluntarily, but lifestyle can definitely be managed.
Some prominent preventive measures to avoid a deadly disease as gruesome as Cancer, can be:
- Not smoking
- Not consuming tobacco products such as Pan Masala
- Getting regular medical checkups done
- Following a healthy lifestyle with natural food products and regular exercising.
- Consuming fewer amounts of junk food and processed foods laced with chemicals
These are effective ways of avoiding cancer to a large extent.
The first step is to get regular complete body health checkups, no matter what age you are. Cancer doesn’t strike after an age, but at any age. Of course the average citizen doesn’t trust the government-run health centres and that’s why 45% of the cancer patients’ first choice was to see a private practitioner or visit a private hospital. However, the steep costs of treatment at private institutions make government run hospitals and tertiary centres second choice of treatment. However, the waiting period is way too long at government centres and hence private hospitals become important.
An average case of cancer patient makes one poorer by anywhere between Rs. 3-25lakhs, which covers the entire process of treatment.
This includes initial hospital visits, diagnostic tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, medication, hospitalization expenses, out-patient expenses, travelling, lodging and other miscellaneous expenses when you are getting treatment in a private facility.
If you decide to get treated in a government hospital like AIIMS in New Delhi, the costs will be minimal, but the queue to get treated is so long that you can’t wait to get treated.
Firstly, bear in mind that cancer is deadly, but it can be avoided.
Secondly, with better lifestyle, it can be avoided and with better management of the disease, it can also be cured.
Yes, life changes immediately after the diagnosis and most of the families find it extremely difficult to fund the treatment process and the whole lifestyle has to undergo a change to get a cancer patient treated.
But with better awareness of the disease and newer ways of handling it, there is high hope.
Cancer is a monster and it can be tamed, only if you apply a rational mind instead of dealing emotionally with this emotion-draining disease!
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