Regular screening, Pap smear tests, and maintaining healthy diet and lifestyle to go a long way in fighting cancer

With celebrities like Lisa Ray, Manisha Koirala, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Srihari, and Yuvraj Singh being no exception to different types of cancers, it is likely that any person irrespective of gender, age and social status is vulnerable to the disease.

However, diagnosis of cancer does not confirm one’s death. Decades ago, the awareness on the disease was comparatively less. With almost every family having at least one patient battling the deadly disease, the need to understand various myths associated with cancer has become imperative.

With the present year’s theme of the World Cancer Day being ‘debunk the myths’, oncologists say regular screening and early detection of the disease will help one avail customised treatment before bouncing back to normal life. “Dealing with educated and uneducated patients demands a lot of our attention. One aspect is that patients are generally clouded by self-doubt and other being the financial part of the treatment. This is when repeated counselling, psychological empowerment and positive talk will come into picture,” surgical oncologist and managing director of Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital and Research Institute V. Murali Krishna explains. He feels that treatment modality should be explained to the family members of the patients so that the fear for fat bills can be removed to a large extent. According to him, availability of government schemes, social welfare schemes offered by NGOs and insurance policies should be made aware among the cancer patients.

‘Not contagious’

On regular myths associated with cancer, Lions Cancer Hospital’s chief of radiation oncology Aditya Narayan says, “Many believe that cancer is contagious. Some of those undergoing treatments are kept locked in separate rooms. They avoid playing with children. This trend should be changed as cancer is not a communicable disease.

The other common practices include family members determining physical fitness of the patient, seeking suggestions from village heads or local ‘Babas’ for cancer treatments and fear for loss of hair among others.”

However, regular screening, Pap smear tests and maintaining healthy diet and lifestyle will go a long way in fighting the cancer.

Above all, consult a physician immediately in case of any persisting symptoms, consultant clinical and radiation oncologist of Queen’s NRI Hospital Suman Das suggests.

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