While ranking high mortality diseases, it comes third after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Cancer causes death more than HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria and this should raise eyebrows in our health sector. Research conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that women are more affected compared to men giving it a 56% of new cases.
Cancer manifests itself in different stages; stage 0, I, II, III and IV, this is according to the site of the tumor, size of the tumor and the cell type affected. . 30% of cancer disease is curable if detected earlier but most individual seek screening at a very late stage. Lack of information, high costs of screening and treatment, shame because some of the cancer occur in private areas and poverty are highlighted as the main reasons for late diagnosis.
Cancer is preventable and curable if one checks their lifestyle. Most causes include; smoking and tobacco intake with 15% risk which can be prevented through behavior change, rehabilitation for the affected, obesity with 7.8% risk which can be prevented by ensuring exercise and change of diet to mainly plant food sources like whole grains and beans, ultra violet radiation with 4.9% that can be reduced by avoiding exposure to x-ray and use of sunscreen oil.
Cancer, a progressive disease that mainly involves abnormal growth of body cells will differ according to the site. For instance, in carcinoma, it covers internal organs e.g. skin, Sarcoma covers muscles or blood vessels, Leukemia originates from blood forming tissues, and Lymphoma affects immune system cells while Central Nervous System affects tissues of the brain and spinal cord.
This signs should give you reasons to visit an oncologist; pain in the bones, anemia, appetite loss, change in bowel or bladder habits, fatigue, Nausea, unusual sores, lump in the breast especially for the women, indigestion or difficulty in swallowing. In women, cervical cancer is the leading type of cancer that causes mortality with 34 deaths among 100,000 diagnosis followed by breast cancer with 25 deaths in every 100,000 patients. In men, prostate cancer gives a lead in deaths with 17.4% followed by oesophagus at 14.7%.
Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy by a specialist or chemotherapy. It is offered based on the type and stage. In late stage cancer, palliative therapy care treatment is offered only to reduce disease symptoms but not to cure.
- Avoiding potential causes like smoking tobacco and reducing exposure to sunlight is the cheapest method of treating cancer. Education and creation of awareness about the disease, its risk factors and prevention will help reduce the late diagnosis
- Vaccination especially against hepatitis B which is associated to development of liver cancer and human papiloma virus which is associated to cervical cancer reduces exposure of an individual to the disease. It does not cure but prolongs the lifespan of individual.
- preventing genetically linked cancer history. Many individuals with cancer will ensure early screening of their families to ensure early detection. Some prefer surgery to ensure the whole cancer cell is scrapped off.
- Screening. This should be done frequently. Early screening helps in early detection where chances of cure are high and easy.
- Good dietary. Individuals with cancer are advised to ensure good nutrition and follow their diets. They are advised to reduce cured and salty foods.
Prevention is better than cure.