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Every year, lakhs of Indian people get devastated by the news of cancer. Incidences of cancer in India is estimated to grow by 25% by 2020 (according to the cancer registry made by the Indian Council of Medical Research). This shows, that cancer has become one of the major causes of death in the country.

As per data, recently released by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 2018, cancer claimed 784821 lives in India. Of the new 11,57,294 cancer cases reported in 2018, majority (14%) was breast cancer, followed by lip, oral, cavity (10.4%), cervix (8.4%), colorectum (6.4%), stomach (5%) and others (56.4%).

What is Cancer?

Cancer is characterized by the growth of abnormal cells that multiply uncontrollably and have the capacity to infiltrate and destroy normal body parts. Unfortunately, it is the second most leading cause of death in India. However survival rates are gradually improving, thanks to improvements in the field of cancer detection and treatment.

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Although symptoms of cancer vary depending on the part of the body affected. However, general signs and symptoms of cancer may include:

  • Unintended weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue
  • Lump or growth
  • Skin changes such as darkening or redness of the skin
  • Changes in existing moles
  • Problems in swallowing, hoarseness
  • A persistent cough or breathing problems
  • Unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Persistent indigestion
  • Persistent fever or night sweat
  • Unexplained bleeding

What are the causes of cancer?

Each body cell contains genes which hold instructions for the cell to grow and perform. Error in these instructions can hamper the normal function and lead to uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cell. These cells are called cancerous cells and any change in the genes is called mutation.

What are the factors that increase the risk of cancer?

Although cancer can occur in people with no known risk factor, however, some factors which can increase the risk are:

Age: It is more commonly found in adults of age 60 or more.
Habits: Lifestyle habits that are known to increase the risk of cancer are- smoking, drinking, excessive sun exposure, obesity, tobacco consumption and practicing unsafe sex.
Family history: If someone in your family has suffered from cancer then it is possible that gene mutations have been passed from one generation to other. In such cases, family members should be screened for cancer to see whether they have inherited the mutated genes or not.
Health conditions: Certain diseases like ulcerative colitis can increase the risk of developing cancer.
Environment: environment plays a major role in increasing the risk. Harmful chemicals in the air like pollutants and second-hand smoke can increase the risk of cancer. Certain chemicals like asbestos and benzene are also associated with cancer risk.

How can cancer be prevented?

There is no perfect way to prevent cancer. But there are several ways to reduce the risk, like:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink in moderation
  • Maintain healthy body weight
  • Get yourself screened for cancer

How is cancer diagnosed?

Cancer screening plays a big role in diagnosing cancer at a very early stage, which provides the best possibility to get cured. Screening tests may help diagnose breast, cervical and colorectal cancers at a very early stage. Screening for lung cancer is recommended for people at higher risk.

Therefore, talk to your doctor about early screening. Cancer screening is available at different branches of RxDx Multispeciality Healthcare Centre in Bengaluru!

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