Hypochondriac, this is how I would describe my brother in law till a few months back.

Now I refer him to as just plain careful. It was just last month that my brother in law was planning a trip to America. He had been having a minor eye strain since a few months, and he took it upon himself to probe the deep dungeons of information on the search engine. After many attempts he had a eureka moment in which he told us that he would travel to the interiors of a place near Lucknow to meet a lady ophthalmologist who comes highly recommended.

This decision led to an uprising at home where he was chided (not so subtly) and nagged (brutally I must add) for "Being stupid enough to go all the way when Mumbai had the best healthcare." He turned out to be quite firm in his decision and against the sound advice of our family made the sole journey all the way to the hinterlands.

The universe of course has a mind of its own. The lady doctor in question checked him thoroughly and insisted on a some specific tests which none of the doctors in Mumbai had advised him.

On his return to Mumbai, he immediately set about completing the tests. All this was of course accompanied by gentle mocking from all of us, he was just making a mountain out of a molehill.

But as I said earlier the universe has a mind of its own- the tests done to detect blood flow to the eye revealed something compressing on his blood vessel, and to our utmost disbelief we discovered that it was a cancerous mass that was responsible for the compression.

Disbelief, followed by denial, fear and then acceptance, there was no running away from it.

A battery of tests and doctor visits followed after which he was finally operated last week.

The cancer surgeon couldn’t emphasize more on how early diagnosis probably saved his eyesight and his life.

As I sit next to him in the hospital and watch his chest heave with each breath, he seems so at peace. The whole atmosphere seems surreal and its difficult to believe how his life had turned upside down in the last few weeks. The battery of wires and tubes attached to him bring me back to grim reality.

Till last week, my brother in law in his wildest dreams wouldn't have thought that he may face this situation. It didn't take long for nature to shatter this myth.

We as his family take solace in the fact that early detection saved his life. Unfortunately not all of us are so lucky.

So friends...'How early is early?'

Its high time we realized that none of us are invincible and the sooner we do, the more the chances of early detection.

I strongly urge all of you to shake off that inertia and make a visit to your dentist for oral cancer screening.

All it would take is two minutes of your time at the dentists clinic....but it may save you a lot more in the long run.