Written by: Aritrika Das(Intern, UPAY)
Cancer is a mystery for most of us. When it sets its foot silently, how it thrives, nests and eats up our fit and fine healthy body system is a kind of riddle!
The advertisements featuring Mukesh, a young man of 24 years, who lost his life while battling cancer or Sunita’s miserable life after surviving oral cancer, might not affect us when shown on screen. But off-screen in real life, the aching fact is cancer has destroyed millions of lives, has orphaned myriad of children, and has pulled out the soul from countless families.
Those who survive, struggle with every bit of life to get it on the normal track.
Awareness programs, campaigns, public events are organized every year to increase consciousness about Cancer among the common folk. Despite all the efforts made till now, a large portion of the Indian population is either in darkness or believes it is a menacing fatal disease.
This November 7 on 8th National Cancer Awareness Day, let’s take the pledge to spread the light on facts about Cancer and eradicate the existing myths and taboos from the country.
Cancer- Know the Devil
Any kind of abnormal growth in our body can lead to forming cancer. The fact is these abnormal growths can be a lump of benign cells (very slow-growing) or formed of malignant cells which causes cancer. Malignant cells, unlike normal cells, grow uncontrollably and form lumps or tumors at a specific site.
Malignant cells break out from the tumor site and are carried to a different site through the bloodstream or other body fluids where more normal cells change to malignant ones. This process is termed metastasis and thus eventually cancer spreads into the whole human body.
Indian population is the nest of 19 different types of cancers (according to the Indian Cancer Society) among which Breast cancer, Cervical cancer, Lung cancer, Oral cancer, and Colorectal cancer are the most dominant types.
The advent of cancer in India and its present status
From the time we gained sense, we are habituated to hearing the term Cancer but when it had set its foot in India is unknown to many of us.
Various research and studies conclude that cancer-like diseases were mentioned in the ancient Ayurveda manuscripts but the medieval age in India had no signs of this fatal disease. Officially cancer case reporting started in the 17th century and the numbers are on a rise ever since.
Present statistics show about 22.5 lakh people are living with cancer in the country. Each year about 1157294 cases are registered and the death toll is close to 8 lakhs. The numbers are scary!
Fueling resources causing cancer
Cancer has become a demon that eventually originated from our sins. Most kinds of cancers are the result of lifestyle disorders. With various alluring opportunities stemming up in the outside world, we are leaving our core Indian diet, lifestyle, and culture that encourages good health.
The present generation is getting along with
- Junk and canned food
- Rising stress levels
- Sleep deprivation
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption.
All these are the probable factors behind the booming case numbers of lifestyle disorders and in the long run, might lead the way towards the demon’s den.
Awareness leading to Cancer-free India
We can win the battle against cancer, certainly. Our most effective weapon against this deadly disease is awareness about cancer among the common folk.
India gets the aid of foundations like the Indian Cancer Society and India Against Cancer (joint venture of Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research) and various NGOs who are working at the core level to spread awareness. Public events like Marathons(e.g.- Pinkathon) and online quizzing, talks on cancer facts and cancer care in schools, colleges, corporates, governmental institutions, and correctional homes, arranging early screening facilities, rehabilitation for patients, financial aid for underprivileged patients, and forming various support groups are a part of the intense campaigning going on in the country.
Various government and non-government institutions have joined hands with media houses to put forward campaigns like ‘Silent Couple‘ (advertisement video) and ‘pink bot‘(WhatsApp chat module to answer queries about Cancer), ‘No Smoking‘ (advertisement videos by different Bollywood stars), ROKO Cancer (by CHMI working in India since 2005 for the prevention of breast cancer and oral cancer).
All such and awareness programs will reach the peak of success only when WE absorb the changes for betterment in our lives for a Cancer-free tomorrow, for a Cancer-free India.