Andhra Pradesh

‘Lack of cancer awareness leading to rise in mortality’

Better awareness on the risk posed by cancers and regular annual check-ups will help identify many cancers at an early stage and bring down death rates, said Karthik Tanneru, a robotic oncologist hailing from Guntur who is now working at the Medical University of South Carolina in the United States.

“Most deaths linked to cancer are due to lack of awareness regarding basic symptoms,” Dr. Tanneru said.

“Cancers like prostate cancer, which is commonly seen in men above the age of 60, present symptoms like obstruction in urine flow, urinary tract infections and blood in urine. Early detection of prostate cancer can be done by examination of the prostate by a doctor, and a blood test prostate specific antigen (PSA) can help detect the cancer,” he said.

People between the age of 55-69 are recommended to get an annual screening. If the PSA is raised, the confirmation of prostate cancer is done by doing a prostate biopsy. Treatment depends on the risk categorisation based on the patient’s blood test and biopsy results.

Dr. Tanneru said treatment options include surgical removal of prostate by open surgery, minimally invasive surgery, robotic assisted surgery or radiation therapy.

The benefits of robotic surgery include lesser blood loss, lesser pain, shorter hospital stay and an early return to one’s daily lifestyle. Robotic surgery allows the surgery to be done with precision under magnified vision and preserve the nerves by preserving sexual function.

With regard to renal cancer, patients generally present with symptoms like, lood in the urine, and pain in the flank. Due to the increased utilisation of imaging techniques like CT and MRI scans to diagnose other diseases, there has been an increase in the incidental detection of the renal cancers in the early stage.

Advances in technology

Previously, most of the cancers were detected only in advanced stages, leading to instances where the entire kidney needed to be removed. But with early detection, only the tumour can be removed leaving behind the kidney (partial nephrectomy), Dr. Tanneru said.

“Using latest techniques like robotic surgery enables doctors to treat more and more complex renal tumors by partial nephrectomy leaving the rest of the kidney free of tumour,” he said.

Bladder cancers are usually caused due to smoking. Most of the patients present with blood in the urine. Depending on the stage of the bladder cancer, the treatment may include removal of the tumour or removal of the entire bladder and reconstructing the new urinary bladder using intestines. With advancements in robotic surgery, the new bladder can be reconstructed with a small incision and help patients return to work early.

Dr. Tanneru has recommended having urology consultation and evaluation if patients have blood in the urine. Self-examination of the testes and screening for prostate cancer using PSA can identify the testicular and prostate cancers at an early stage. Stopping smoking combined with a healthy well-balanced diet and regular exercise can decrease the cancer incidence, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 2:20:28 PM |

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