The present world is witnessing an increasing number of cancer cases time and again – owing to which sudden detection of cancer in our family members, near and dear ones, and surprisingly in our own body has become quite common. To know the facts, let us understand why is it so.
Worrisome Statistics of Cancer
The global scenario of cancer is quite worrisome as a World Health Organization report indicates that the incidences of cancer will increase up to 1.7 million by 2035 with around 1.2 million deaths annually.
In India, the total number of cancer cases will increase up to 200% within the next two decades and the survival rate among cancer patients in India is less than 30%. Majority of the cancer cases occur in individuals 40 to 60 years age. Cervical and breast cancer account for about 40% of the cancer cases in India.
When it comes to breast cancer incidences in women, the trend is quite pathetic in India as the age shift is towards younger women. According to several studies, nearly about 25% of new breast cancer cases are now being detected in women between age 25 to 40 years. Ironically, the majority of the cancer cases in India are associated with tobacco use, alcohol consumption, infections and other lifestyle-related preventable causes.
Prevalence of Head and Neck Cancers in India is on the rise
In India, head and neck cancers are the major cause for concern owing to their lengthy latent period. Nearly 60% of the cancer cases occur in developing Asian countries and to a large extent in India. Among all the other types of cancers, head and neck cancers account for nearly about 40%. Another discouraging fact is that more than 75% of cancer cases are presented in the advanced stages as compared to only 30% in developed countries.
The number of cancer cases has reached to such a level that a normal healthy-looking young adult or an energetic child could be diagnosed with some or the other type of cancer – that too without experiences any warning signs and symptoms. At this juncture, it is imperative for us to deeply introspect and know whether it is possible to curtail what is happening.
Yes, it is, in fact, possible if we are ready to pay attention!
India-based studies have confirmed that screening improves early detection of cancers by 1.5-2.5 times. For instance, cancers such as Oral Cancer, Head and Neck cancers, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, breast and cervical cancers can be cured if detected early and treated adequately. Screening is a systematic evaluation of ‘normal’ individuals to see if there is any underlying cancer even if they don’t have any symptoms. Even in the absence of any symptoms, screening helps detect cancer early when it is most treatable. Many people do not experience symptoms in the early stages of cancer; therefore, regular cancer screening is important.
According to several experts, the majority of cancers can be effectively treated with curative intent if diagnosed early and treated appropriately. However, in India, delayed diagnosis, poorly equipped hospitals coupled with sub-optimal therapy account for high cancer mortality compared to the Western and European countries.
Now it is a high time for us to break the shackles of our ignorance and carelessness and start taking care of ourselves and our near and dear ones. To stop cancer in its tracks, let us become knowledgeable, approachable and actionable. In a nutshell, acquire knowledge from reliable sources, approach the best healthcare centres and specialists and take action.