Articles on cancer screening

Cancer Screening and Prevention Strategies

Dr. Sushma Purohit, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Screening is the best method to prevent cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is heralded as second most common form of cancer among women in developing world but largest cause of death.The causative agent linked to cervical cancer development is Human papilloma virus (HPV). Screening identifies the disease early and treats it at its premature stage disrupting its progression. Prevention Strategies1.Vaccination against HPV virus : Cervical cancer vaccine prevents HPV infection and hence cervical cancer and genital warts. Vaccines should be definitely given to girls and young adults before they become sexually active.Two dose of vaccines are adequate for girls less than or equal to 15 yrs age. But for more than 15 yrs 3 doses are given. In 2 dose schedule second vaccine is given 6-24 months after the first. In 3 dose schedule 0,1 and 6th month are chosen to deliver vaccine.If 2 dose schedule is interrupted it is resumed and not repeated even if 24 months have elapsed regardless of age at which girl presents. If the girl has received 2 doses less than 6 months apart then it is not considered adequate to provide long term immunity and third dose has to be given.HPV vaccines can be given at the same time with other vaccines but on different sites or at least 2.5cm apart.It is not recommended in pregnancy , with moderate or severe acute illness and in patients with history of hypersensitivity to yeast or any vaccine component.These vaccines are not 100% protective for cervical cancer ,hence they cannot replace periodic screening. 2. Pap smear screening every 3 yrs after the age of 21 yrs regardless of sex debut.3. Avoid  risk factors and follow as advised:          Increase marriage age          Treat sexually transmitted diseases at the earliest          Practice monogamy          Avoid tobacco/Cigarettes          Use CondomsContact your gynecologic oncologist for further queries.    

How Is National Breast Cancer Month Making a Difference?

Ms. Samara Mahindra, Dietitian/Nutritionist
National Breast cancer awareness month is celebrated to increase the awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. It makes people more determined to fight cancer and becomes a platform for sharing experiences by finding a community of like-minded people.Health experts have found an increase in breast cancer among younger women. It can be frightening, shocking and a painful experience for most and taking the right precautions are mandatory.It’s time to be on your toes for a mammogram!Following precautionary measures i.e, taking a self breast examination every month and undergoing a mammogram post the age of fifty is essential. Doing this will most probably detect the presence of cancer in early stages and therefore survival rates can increase tremendously.Dismal state of breast cancer screenings in IndiaA WHO Study claims that most women around the world suffer from breast cancer predominantly and majority of such cases in developing countries, get detected in advanced stages.India has a long way in terms of spreading awareness. Even though most of the state government medical colleges are offering free breast cancer screening in urban and rural areas, the number of women showing up at hospitals for these tests are very low. Reasons for a low response is lack of awareness about health and cancer along with the discretion or shyness associated with sexuality.On the other hand…It’s a proud fact that the Indian government has come up with a cancer prevention programme, making screening of oral, cervix and breast cancer for male and female above the age of 30 mandatory.Social organisations like non-governmental organisations, self-help groups and other organisations working at the ground level are trying to focus their efforts to bring success to such campaigns.Sharing your storyThere are breast cancer survivors who are now stepping out and sharing their experiences with the rest of the world. They are encouraging other women to step out and take the right measures in protecting themselves and providing hope to those who have already been through the illness. Such as CARER Program Breast Cancer survivor Shobha Moorjani says,“I can say with absolute confidence that right after my chemotherapy, with the CARER Program I bounced back and fought cancer so bravely that it didn’t affect me that I ever had that disease. I have cleared my first test completely.”Listen to the heart-warming story of Shobha Moorjani at Here.Spread the knowledgeSo if you are going through breast cancer or are a survivor or know someone who has then it’s your month people, spread the knowledge. Here are some ways…Host a cancer survivor partySpeak to your community, school or even your family and friends about screeningRun a marathonAnd for women who are already doing this Thumbs up!

Self Examination - Most Effective Way for Early Detection & Treatment of Breast Cancer

Dr. Sunny Jain, Oncologist
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. Lately, there has been a rising trend of breast cancer in younger females. As prevention of breast cancer is a difficult task, experts opine that breast cancer awareness is the way to go. The motto of breast cancer awareness is to educate females about self-examination of the breast. The simple five-step technique can evade a lot of suffering of a full-blown breast cancer.Steps for self-examination of the breast:Uncover your upper body till the waist. Stand in front of a big mirror. Place your hands on the hip and straighten the shoulder. Now carefully look at your breasts for their usual shape,size and colour. Breasts are normally evenly shaped with no visible swelling or distortions.Most women do not have both breasts of the same size and shape. So do not worry about that. What you should look for and report is bulging of skin, dimpling or puckering of skin.Check whether the nipple has changed position. If the nipple is pushed inwards or there is redness, soreness or swelling of the breast skin, consult a doctor.Next step is to raise your arms up and look for the same changes while still in front of the mirror.Now, have a look at both of your nipples and check whether there is some fluid oozing out.The fluid could be watery, milky, yellow or blood-stained. This is an alarming sign, as normally there is no discharge from the nipples.Next, lie down on a couch with upper body uncovered. Use your right hand to feel the left breast and vice versa. Keep the finger flat and together and use the first few finger pads of your hands to feel the breast. With a firm and smooth touch, move the hand in circular motion covering a small portion of the breast at a time. Continue to examine in this fashion and cover entire breast from collar bone to top of abdomen and cleavage to armpits.Follow a pattern and make sure you feel the entire breast. Beginning at the nipples, you can move your hand in larger circles to the outer edge of the breast. Alternatively, you can move your hand up and down vertically in rows.Use light pressure for tissue beneath the skin and medium pressure on the middle part ofthe breast. As you reach the deeper tissue near the ribcage, use firm pressure to feel the breast. Follow the steps for both breasts.Finally, feel your both breasts in a similar way as above in a sitting or standing position. You may choose to do it as you shower if the wet and slippery texture of the skin comforts you.A stitch in time saves nine! If you are in your thirties or forties, this is a must for you. Self-examine your breast once a month, well after your periods are done. If you notice any changes, report to a gynaecologist soon.

How to Be on a Lookout for Breast Cancer

Dr. Jyotsna Gupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer detected in Indian women. It is also the leading cause of cancer deaths in women all over the world. Lack of awareness and screening combined with diagnosis in advanced stages accounts to loss of life due to this disease which is treatable when caught in early stages.1. The risk factorsBeing a women and increasing age are most likely risk factors. Other known risk factors are Previously diagnosed Cancer in the same or other breast Family history of breast cancer(close relatives with breast cancer) Early onset of menstrual period (before age 12) Late menopause (after age 55) Not having children & having first child after age 30 Long term use of Hormone replacement therapy Obesity (overweight, particularly after menopause)2. Screening test· Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk· Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40 3. Abnormal signs See a doctor if you notice any of these breast changes:· Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area· Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast· Change in the size or shape of the breast· Dimpling or puckering of the skin· Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple· Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast· Nipple discharge that starts suddenly· New pain in one spot that doesn't go away 4. How to reduce risk Make healthy lifestyle choices Everyone should aim to:Be physically active, so do  regular exercise.Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.Limit "bad" fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.Eat"good" fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.Limit alcohol intake to less than one drink a day for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men.Limit menopausal hormone useBreastfeed, if you can

Decrease Chances of Getting Breast Cancer

Dr. Alpa Alok Modi, Oncologist
We all know how difficult it is to get cured once you get any kind of cancer. More so when it has spread all over the body, lends you with multiple chemo sessions, radiotherapy etc. Yes it is very painful after that and the chances of survival is so low once it has spread.  So why not take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place itself. I should know because I have been successful in treating a lot of my young patients with a lot of education, screening and motivation and I am happy to say that today most of my patients with early cancer who came to me or got it operated from me in the early stages are free of cancer.So here are a few tips to make your life happy and cancer free :1. MAINTAIN YOUR WEIGHT. Obesity decreases chances of fighting cancer.2. EAT HEALTHY.  Eating raw fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vegetable oil over animal oil goes a long way to keep you slim, trim and cancer free. It also decreases your chances of diabetes as      I have seen my husband's patients improving on their diabetes status since I have seen him recommend this as he is a renowned diabetologist and metabolic specialist. 3. EXERCISE REGULARLY.  All it takes is a 30 mins walk five times a week. Is that too much ? Then go for it. Studies have shown that it decreases the breast cancer risk by 10 to 30%.4. CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL.  Reduce your alcohol intake to strictly not more than one glass per day. what type vodka, beer etc you drink is immaterial. NOT MORE THAN A SMALL  GLASS.5. NO SMOKING . Smoking is ALWAYS BAD. ANY AMOUNT. So don't go for it,6. BREAST FEEDING. Mother nature has given ladies  a pair of breast. use it to breast feed you child as long as you can. studies have clearly shown that the longer you feed your children lesser are the chances of getting breast cancer. What a better way to keep one healthy and increase the level of satisfaction, happiness  and bonding with your children too !!!. Go for it dear readers.7. HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY OR ESTROGEN BLOCKING DRUGS.  Learn to say no to them, unless indicated by your doctor. They only lead to multiple complications in the long run, Pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis, estrogen gels, tamoxifen, raloxifene etc should be avoided unless under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner .8. BREAST CANCER SCREENINGS : There is nothing like doing a self examination of breast in front of a mirror. A lot of breast cancers can be picked up early in the diseases like this. Free of cost, avoidance of painful mammography exams, a self examination of breast goes  along way. We regularly hold such camps free of cost in Kevalya Hospital, where I am attached as a surgical consultant to teach female patients how to do it on a regular basis. Join us and join the movement and we will be happy to teach you do it in the comforts of your own home.9. PROPHYLACTIC SURGERY : These are meant for women with high risk like having a BRCA oncogene etc. This is an  option we can discuss on a personal meet. It is not a routine recommended procedure. We like to avoid mastectomy (removal of breast) as much as possible as it is disfiguring and very traumatic to a lady. So dear readers here is wishing you a lot of good health and hope you take care of your health actively,  feel free to contact me on 9820091853 and I hope I could be some guidance to you. 

5 Tips to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Dr. Manpreet Singh Bindra, Oncologist
Persistent infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a common way of developing cervical cancer, with young women being the most susceptible to infections with the virus. To reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer: 1. Reduce your chances of getting infected with the virus: Young girls and women who engage in sexual activity with multiple partners should use condoms. In case of repeated vaginal infections, visit your healthcare professional for screening.2. Get a Pap test done every 3 years: Pap tests simply involve swabbing the cervix with a speculum to a sample then looking at the cells in the sample under a microscope to check for abnormal changes. Cervical cancer is one of those cancers that can be cured so regular pap testing is VERY important.3. Quit smoking: The nicotine and other components found in cigarettes are able to pass through your blood stream and can become deposited in the cervix where they can alter the growth of cervical cells. Smoking can also suppress your immune system making it more susceptible to HPV infections. You can dramatically reduce your risk of smoking if you give it up.4. Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet is one that is rich in unrefined food (white foods, processed meat, high-sugar biscuits and confectionary), fruits and vegetables. A diet consisting of whole foods provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that work together to nourish your cells and keep them health.5. Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of insulin resistance, which may lead to type II diabetes and increase the risk of developing cancer. Women who have a waist circumference over 35 inches and men with a waist circumference over 40 inches are considered high-risk for a variety of diseases, including cancers. Check your waist circumference and lose weight if you need to by eating a healthy diet and performing moderate-high intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week.

On World Cancer Day 2016: Let Us Understand Cancer Better!

Dr. Sahil Chheda, Dentist
World Cancer Day is celebrated annually on 4th of February to deepen our understanding of this killer disease. This year the campaign focuses on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration that is to reduce stigma and dispel myths about cancer with the tagline, "Debunk the myths".There has been enough research to validate that food acts as the most promising ammunition to fight the battle against cancer. Keeping in with this year's campaign we bring to you six common queries.1) What is the most common cause of cancer?Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells. There are around 100 types of cancer. The most common types of cancer are - Men: Lung, esophagus, stomach, oral and pharyngeal cancers. Women: Cervix and breast cancers.Cancer has many possible causes, the prominent ones being -Genetics: Certain cancers run in families. For example, certain mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes greatly increase a person's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.Smoking: Cigarette smoking accounts for around 30% of all cancer deaths. It is linked with increased risk of these cancers - lungs, larynx, oral cavity, nose and sinuses, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, ovary, colon, rectum and acute myeloid leukemia. Chewing of tobacco, a carcinogen, is linked to dental caries, gingivitis, oral leukoplakia, and oral cancer.Diet and Lifestyle: Research shows that a poor diet and not having an active lifestyle are the key factors that can increase a person's risk of developing cancer.Three things to keep in mind in order to stay cancer free:- Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout your life.- Be physically active on a regular basis.- Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.2) What are the foods that up the risk of developing cancer?Some cancers like that of the stomach have a more direct relationship with food. Foods which should be consumed in moderation to avoid the incidence of cancer are -Processed meats such as bacon, sausages, lunch meats and hot dogs.Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.3) What are the preventive foods that guard against cancer?In accordance with the most common types of cancers that our country suffers from, the following foods can help:Oral Cancer: A diet rich in green and yellow vegetables and proper oral hygiene has been shown to offer protection against oral cancer.Breast Cancer: Reduction of high calorie foods, increased intake of fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity is preventive.Lung Cancer: Avoid tobacco and stay free from environmental pollutants. Increase intake of vegetables, fruits and beta carotene.Stomach Cancer: Diets high in fruits and vegetables particularly raw vegetables, citrus fruits, and possibly allium vegetables (onions, leeks, garlic etc.), foods with high levels of carotenoid, high vitamin C intake and consumption of green tea helps prevent stomach cancers.4) What foods help in healing cancer and how?Good nutrition is a key to good health. Foods which are rich in Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and Lycopene are known to protect DNA from damages. Research proves that these foods help in healing cancer -Apple: Apple contains quercetin, epicatechin, anthocyanins and triterpenoids which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to lower the risk of cancer specifically Colorectal cancers. The apple peel is the most nutritious as the majority of Quercetin (80%) is found in it. Other cancers in which apples are known to heal are lungs, breast and stomach.Blueberries: Blueberries have great antioxidant power, due to the presence of many phytochemicals and flavonoids like Anthocyanins, Ellagic acid and Urolithin. These are known to decrease free radical damage to DNA that leads to cancer. They also decrease the growth and stimulate self-destruction of mouth, breast, colon and prostate cancer cells.Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Green Cabbage, Cauliflower, White Turnip, Kale, Green Collard: The Glucosinolates present in them is converted into isothiocyanates and indoles on consumption, which decreases inflammation, one of the risk factors of cancer. Beta-carotene promotes cell communication that helps control abnormal cell growth.Cherries: Both sweet and tart cherries are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. The dark red color comes from anthocyanins, which are antioxidants.Cranberries: They are high on dietary fiber and vitamin C. They're very high in antioxidant power, most of which comes from phytochemicals like anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and flavonols, ursolic acid, benzoic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid. Proanthocyanidins and ursolic acid decrease growth and increase self-destruction of several types of cancer in cell studies.Grapefruit: An 18th century hybrid of the pummelo and sweet orange. It is grown mainly in the Americas. Its name derives from the fruit's appearance as it grows: grape-like clusters on trees. Grapefruit contains these naringenin and other flavonoids like limonin and other limonoids, beta-carotene and lycopene (pink and red varieties). Foods containing lycopene lower the risk of prostate cancer.Green Tea: Since ancient times, tea has been used as both beverage and medicine. Both black and green teas contain numerous active ingredients, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. One class of flavonoids called catechins has recently become the focus of widespread study for their anti-cancer potential. Tea is the best source of catechins in the human diet, and green tea contains about three times the quantity of catechins found in black tea. In laboratory studies, green tea has been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer development in colon, liver, breast and prostate cells. Other studies involving green tea have shown similar protective effects in tissues of the lung, skin and digestive tract.Winter Squash/Pumpkins: They contain Alpha and Beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A inside the body. The yellow pigmented lutein, zeaxanthin helps to filter high energy ultra violet rays that can damage our eye's lens and retina. Lab studies suggest that dietary intake decreases the chances of skin cancer related to exposure from sun. Walnuts: The major actives found in walnut are - Elligtannins, Gamma-tocopherol, Alpha-linolenic acid, phytosterols and Melatonin. Laboratory studies show that consuming walnuts helps in breast cancer, colon tumor and prostate cancer. The studies also show decreased damage to DNA by regular consumption of walnut.5) Do all chemicals, preservatives and additives in foods cause cancer?Additives serve a wide variety of uses. For example, preservatives protect foods against deterioration and prevent growth of fungi and bacteria. Other additives help improve the texture and consistency of foods, keep them flowing freely when poured, or prevent them from drying out. Flavourings restore taste losses or can enhance the flavour or aroma of food. Emulsifiers ensure that oil and water in foods do not separate. Some commonly used preservatives which are doubted to have a relation with cancer are - Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite.Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a phenolic antioxidant which prevents rancidity of fats and oils in food by protecting against lipid oxidation. High levels of BHA is found to create stomach tumor in laboratory animals. Some other chemicals which are found in canned foods and are known to perpetrate cancer are -Bisphenol A(BPA) can be found in reusable plastic food containers and the lining of food and beverage cans. Research shows that BPA exposure is linked to breast cancer, and has been shown to interfere with chemotherapy treatment for the disease.Phthalates can be found in some plastic food containers and are considered as endocrine disruptors. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.Some pesticides and herbicides used on foods we eat have been labeled as human or animal carcinogens.Zeranol: Commonly found in the beef industry processing, it mimics an estrogen like action in the body and has been found carcinogenic in laboratory animals. This chemical is banned by the European Union.Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to produce food packaging. It was one of the first chemicals designated as known human carcinogen and has been linked to increased mortality from breast cancer and liver cancer among workers involved in its manufacture.6) A lot is being talked about the Mediterranean diet and its anti-cancer properties. How helpful is the diet? The Mediterranean diet got popular in 1990's for its protective qualities against heart ailments. Later it was found to be effective for other lifestyle disorders and cancer. Instead of accepting all the dishes that are offered in the name of a Mediterranean diet we should look for some basic concepts for which this cuisine is revered. These are - good to control weight gain, bad cholesterol and blood sugar.A typical Mediterranean diet includes - abundant plant foods, fresh fruits, olive oil, cereals, wine, moderate consumption of fish, poultry and low amounts of red meat. The main benefit of this type of a diet is that it reduces inflammatory changes and oxidative stress in the body. By reducing inflammatory changes and delaying the age related changes in body it increases longevity and improves health. At least 7 types of cancers are related to obesity and in that context a Mediterranean diet helps to maintain a healthy glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. The biological mechanisms for cancer prevention associated with the Mediterranean diet have been related to the favourable effect of a balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3, essential fatty acids and high amounts of fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols found in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and wine.7) Five tips that one should follow for a healthy lifestyle.Include fibers in your diet for healthy bowel movements. Regular bowels are important for detoxification.Regular exercise is most important to boost immunity and avoid metabolic disorders like diabetes, hyper cholesterol, obesity, thyroid, hypertension etc. Yoga, pranayama are good for reducing stress, improving flexibility and correcting posture.Nuts provides a good source of energy and other nutrients which are helpful. They help in the reduction and maintenance of weight. Nuts are advisable for controlling bad cholesterol. Nuts like walnut, almonds and pistachios are good for diabetics, hypercholesterolemia.Intake of fruits and vegetables provides necessary antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These help to neutralize the oxidative stress in the body and avoid damages to DNA, ageing.Regular detox through green and herbal teas helps to maintain the balance in the body. Spa and Ayurveda therapies like body massages, shirodhara, chooran svedanam help to relax the body and mind. Lymphatic drainage therapy is also helpful to cleanse channels and get rid of toxins from the lymphatic system.

Understanding Cancer Better

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist
What is cancer?Cancer is the name given to a group of diseases that behave similarly. There is a wide range of cancers which are characterised by an uncontrolled division of body's cells without halting and thereby, spread into surrounding tissues pushing normal cells.Cancer can begin at any place in the human body, which is comprised trillions of cells. Regularly, human cells divide and shape into new cells as the body needs them. At the point when cells get senile or get harmed, they bite the dust, and new cells assume their position. When the organised procedure of cell growth fails, cancer begins. Cells turn out to be increasingly irregular in shape and size, and continue to survive even when they ought to die, and new cells are formed even when they are not required. These cells can multiply without any reason and may form what is called tumours. Cancerous tumours are harmful, which implies that they can spread into, or attack, adjacent tissues. Moreover, as these tumours develop, some cancer cells can escape and go to far off spots in the body through the blood or the lymph framework and shape new tumours a long way from the first tumours.Why worry about cancer?Cancers figure among the main causes of morbidity and mortality around the world, with roughly 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths every year. In the next two decades, it is estimated that the incidence of cancer will increase by 70% throughout the world. Among men, the five most common cancers in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer.In women, the five most common cancers are breast, colorectal, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.Around 33% of cancer deaths can be prevented by behavioural and dietary changes. The risks include high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.Read my blogs on early detection of cancer and cancer prevention to understand how to reduce your risk.