Cancer Awareness – Key of Early Detection

Cancer is a global disease, and it’s spreading rapidly. Most of us have known a family member, a neighbor or a colleague who has been diagnosed with cancer. Thus, today creating awareness about this disease is more than essential. A delay in diagnosis can make the treatment more difficult or rather impossible in some cases. We must make an effort to educate ourselves and others about the symptoms, treatment and prevention.1 

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020.3 There are more than 100 types of cancer and, the most common ones are bladder, breast, thyroid, leukemia, kidney, lung, pancreatic cancer.1 

The few symptoms one should look out for are changes in bowel habits, blood in stool, anemia, lumps on testicles or changes in urination.4 According to WHO, there are different risk factors to this disease like tobacco, alcohol, obesity, chronic infections or any environmental risks. Different types of cancer-causing agents like ionizing radiation, genetic factors, hormonal changes, impaired immunity and more.

What is the importance of cancer awareness?

In developing countries, cancer treatment can be expensive for poor people. Early detection can make the treatment cost less and help save a life. Awareness of early signs of cancer is related to better health-seeking behavior and early detection of common cancer.8 It can help decrease the mortality rate all over the world. 

Factors affecting cancer awareness:

There are many factors that affect the cancer awareness some from them are as follows:

  • Literacy rate: Low literacy rates can make it difficult for certain people to grasp information about prevention, diagnosis and treatment provided by a health worker. 
  • Level of income: High-income groups have better access to knowledge making it easier for them.

How can we promote cancer awareness?

 Inform people about the importance of regular screening and check-ups. Educating people about the key risk factors as more than 30% of cancer cases could be prevented by modifying their lifestyle or avoiding the risk factors. Also, make women aware of mammograms, clinical breast exams and breast self-exams. Awareness will help remove the stigma attached to it and remove the fear of seeking treatment and fighting the disease. 11

You are a soldier and a soldier never quits.

Manpreet Kaur, Priya Antil, Ashmita Chaudhary, Shweta Sharma
School of Healthcare, Rishihood University

References:

  1. Sitki-Copur, M (2009). State of cancer Research around the globe. Oncology Journal; 33(5):181-185.
  2. National cancer institute 2019. Cancer Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.
  3. Sahu, D.P, Subba, S.H, Giri, P.P. (2020). Cancer Awareness and Attitude towards Cancer Screening in India: A Narrative Review. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 9, 2214-2216.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Cancer its Symptoms, Causes and Treatments. Mayo Clinic, 2019.
  5. Blackadar, C.B (2016). Historical Review of the Cause of Cancer. World J Clin Oncol, 7(1), 54-86.
  6. Chakroborty, S. Rahman T. (2012). The Difficulties in Cancer Treatment. E Cancer Medical Science; 6th, 12.
  7. National Cancer Institute. What is Cancer. Cancer.gov.2021. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/what-is-cancer
  8. MajuSivaram S, Majumdar G, et al., (2018). Population Based Cancer Screening Programmes in Low Income and Medical Countries: Regional Consultation of the International Cancer screening network in India. 
  9. Diviani, N. Schulz, P.J. (2011). What Should Laypersons Know about Cancer? Towards an Operational Definition of Cancer literacy. Patient Educ Couns.
  10. Siddharth, R. Gupta, D. Narang, R. Singh, P. (2016). Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice about Breast Cancer and Breast Self-examination among Women Seeking out-patient Care in a Teaching Hospital in Central India. Indian J Cancer.
  11. Indian Cancer Society. Cancer awareness. http://www.indiancancersociety.org/what-do-we-do/awareness.aspx2022.
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