World Cancer Day: Early detection vital in combating disease

Dr Eugene George Rent 
MS, M Ch (Surgical Oncology)
Consultant Cancer Surgeon
A J Hospital & Research Centre 

February 4 is World Cancer Day

Feb 4: Cancer, a dreaded disease we have all heard about. A disease that has at some time claimed the life of a friend, a relative or a loved one. A disease that breeds fear and despair in our minds washing away all hope.

But cancer doesn’t always mean death. In advanced stage yes, it’s rarely curable but if detected early it most often can be cured. That is why screening for cancer is so vital in combating this disease. The theme of the year "We can. I Can" calls for participation of all – as a collective effort or as individuals can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

The objective of creating awareness is to save people from cancer and educate the community about the cancer symptoms, preventive measures, healthy diet and lifestyle modification. That is why screening for cancer is so vital in combating this disease.

But what do we mean by screening? It involves a few simple tests and procedures done to detect common cancers at a very early stage before it spreads thus improving the chance of cure. They are painless and inexpensive with absolutely no side effects. There are a lot of advertisements circulating these days that talk about a single blood test or urine test that can diagnose any cancer. This is not true. Screening is not done in a lab. It’s done by a doctor who will evaluate your chances of developing disease and based on your risk he’ll prescribe the required tests, one for each system that is one for breast cancer, one for colon and stomach cancer, one for cervical cancer and so on.

In women, breast cancer and cervical cancer are the two commonest malignancies seen in India and both can be detected very early if screening protocols are followed. Steps in early detection of breast cancer include self breast examination, examination by a trained doctor and a yearly mammogram. Self breast examination is a structured, defined approach to examining your own breasts to look for any lumps. Please do meet a trained doctor and ask him how it is done. Learning over the internet will give you half baked knowledge and do more harm than good. The other steps are evaluation of your risk by a doctor based on your family history and hormone exposure and if necessary a mammography thereafter.

For cervical cancer an examination by your doctor and a pap smear is all that is needed and is very sensitive in detecting cancer at an early stage. Pap smear means that a small brush is used to remove a few shed cells which are evaluated under a microscope. There is no painful biopsy involved. These simple tests along with a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and good diet will go a long way in reducing your risk of developing this deadly disease.

Remember, early detection saves lives!



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Comment on this article

  • Fr Santosh SJ, Mangalore Fatima Retreat House

    Fri, Feb 05 2016

    Dear Dr Eugene Thank you for your article,4 feb. I have many things to refer to you.

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  • Evans Christopher Sumitra, UDUPI/NEW YORK,USA.

    Fri, Feb 05 2016

    Kudos to Dr. Eugene George for the fantastic article. It is an eye opener to all cancer patients who are at an early stage. But in any case 'PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE'.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sylvia DSouza, Mumbai/Dubai

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Your message is clear, that cancer is a common, shared enemy we face – and one ‘We Can’ and will beat if we continue to unite against it and take that first step to screening.
    I hope this is your first article in the series, and look forward to many more tips and pointers, while spreading the awareness of Cancer. I am sure many of us will want to know when and how often one must go for screening, what are the kind of symptoms one should look for in different kinds of Cancer, etc. Thanks

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  • Lucy Rodrigues, Moodubelle/Mumbai

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Very nice article. Thank you Doctor. Thanks Daiji.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Janet Fernandes, Mangalore / Dubai

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    thanks to A J HOSPITAL Management for this informative on Cancer. Very good subject and can be passed on the many as possible. thanks for this information.


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  • Vijay Viswas Lobo, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Hello Eugene,
    Very Informative article,feeling happy to read a article from old school Friend . All the best have much more success in future .

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  • ruchir agarwal, mangalore

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Very informative article doc. The awareness should be done throughout the year. Cancer awareness is the signature project of our Rotary club of Mangalore sunrise which was initiated by Dr Shivshankar Bhat and Mr Hemacharya

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  • R S SHETTY, udupi- London

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Very informative article Eugene. All the best.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Erel Diaz, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Nice article Eugene. All the best.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eula Pinto, Muscat/Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Hi Dr Jr.
    Thanks for your informative article on Cancer, apt for the world cancer day. However, I wish the article had some information on other types of cancer as well that are common in India, especially in Mangalore. Hope to see more writing from you. Thanks

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  • ANP, Blur

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    There is a book written by an Indian, which takes you to the roots of cancer and then to the branches, simple English and can be understood by us lay people. "THE EMPEROR OF MALADIES" by S. MUKERJEE. WINNER OF PULITZER PRIZE.
    Nice to have you back J.R..

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Thu, Feb 04 2016

    Indian Government should organize free camps for Cancer Detection ...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

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