Cells are the basic building blocks of all human body. They are responsible for creating the structure of the body. Our body is composed of trillions of cells. Again, cells are only instrumental for us to experience nine types of senses, six varieties of tastes and sixty-four types of arts. Cells generate, help us and die out in the end. New cells would automatically emerge. This is the process. In this, if new cells grow beyond all proportions and control, it gives room for problems. The additional cells may try to thrive separately and develop into masses or lumps which may ultimately lead to serious problems. Thus cells make as well as Mara body structure and state. When the cells go awry it leads to deadly diseases like cancer from which escape might appear to be remote at times. At the same time, we must note that cancer is not contagious in nature and it is treatable if it is detected in the early stage itself. Let us try to get an analytical insight into this with an objective to create necessary awareness among the public.
Tumour & Cancer:-
The cells that are recalcitrant become lumps or masses in our body. These lumps should not be neglected. By means of biopsy, the nature of mass or the lump can be determined either as benign or malignant as the case may be. While the benign tumor is harmless the malignant one is very harmful and cancerous in nature. The benign tumor might also become malignant in due course if left unchecked.
There are hundreds of different types of cancer that may affect us. Mainly, the cancer cells may attack the digestive organs, blood circulation and nervous system and release the bad cells to affect the body in two different ways. In one way, these cells multiply and position themselves as an octopus in the regions of a lymphatic pathway as well as blood vessels. They will keep on destroying the good and healthy cells and spread. This is known as ‘invasion’. The other way is these destructive cells will create their own blood vessels and expand in multiples. This is called ‘angiogenesis’. At one stage, these deadly cells will not react to any medicine. As they will not stay in one place it would be very difficult to do away with them. Additionally, they will keep on destroying the good cells also.
Detection of cancer:-
When memory fails, one will get the alarm and go in for MRI scan only to find out a malignant tumor seated in the brain. Then he would proceed to cancer treatment. Otherwise, one will admit that he vomits blood whenever he coughs. The test will reveal lung cancer. It will also let him know that the same cells earlier positioned at the lung have now moved to the brain. This condition is known as ‘secondaries’. This is technically known as ‘metastasis’. Cancer specialists feel that at this stage the cancer is incurable.
American Cancer Society says that cancer is the second reason for the death of human beings at a global level. Another statistical data reveals that in the year 2012, the newly detected cancer patients touched 14 million out of which 8.2 million have died of cancer. Along with this data, the World Health Organization warns that in another 20 years there will be 70% more fatal cases due to cancer disease.
The causes are aplenty that we are not in a position to pinpoint anyone for that matter. However, the following are identified as general causes:-
Genes – The DNA type – If on the side of either father or mother, there was some occurrence, one should not ignore. Necessary tests should be taken at the appropriate time.
Consumption of tobacco, the asbestos sheet used as a roof, arsenic metal, Gama and X-Rays excessive radiation, vehicle pollution and other causes of carcinogens.
Used oil when re-used will be a definite cause due to chemical changes that create free oxygen radicals. This is responsible for not only cancer but also for other diseases. For instance, it will cause impotency for men.
Medical researchers confirm that attack of virus infectious diseases also causes cancer of several kinds. For example, HPV (Human papillomavirus) leads to uterus cancer in the case of women; Hepatitis B and C result in liver cancer and Epstein-Barr virus is responsible for many types of cancer in the case of children. Whatever be the type, these weaken the immune system and hence the possibility of cancer attack becomes comparatively easier.
When it comes to the specific parts of the body prone to cancer, these are the four parts, i.e. a) breast cancer; b) cervical cancer; c) oral cancer and d) colorectal cancer. Tobacco, smoking, drinking alcohol, consuming pan parak etc. are chiefly responsible. Betel nut per se may possess certain good medicinal values but at the same time, if it is taken along with tobacco every time, it is very likely to result in the attack of cancer. Statistics reveal that India is on the top of the list in respect of oral cancer. Similarly, smoking for whatever reason it may be, is also equally dangerous. Much more danger is being caused to the passive smokers like the children. No doubt, as far as cancer is concerned, prevention is better than cure. Educating the masses through videos, movies and advertisements is meaningful and fruitful. Due to the anti-tobacco community program organized in Karnataka, 26.5% and 36.7% in the case of male and female respectively have reduced.
An incidence of bread cancer:-
Women are largely affected by breast cancer. 43% of 1 L population at the global level is the current level of incidence. In India, particularly in Bengaluru, nearly 36.6% of the population are affected by breast cancer. In reality, cancer disease seems to have become as that of common cold and fever. Basic awareness among the rural population is yet to be created. Primary health centers at village level must be equipped with necessary infrastructure to diagnose this issue. Both Central and State machineries must reach out to the rural masses to educate them on this.
The victims of cancer blame only the current lifestyle and food habits of youngsters. Factors like a genetic change in food, chemical agents/adulterations, plastic containers in the name and fashion of modular kitchen, food prepared in the oven, use of Teflon material including adulterations taking place in milk etc. are the sources of this attack.
In addition to the above, cosmetic products like facial creams, hair dye, powders, sunscreen lotions including the artificial fiber made clothes are all highly dangerous.
Above all, the same corporates which manufacture these products and again manufacture the remedial pills and potions in the name of medicines are chiefly responsible for the spread of cancer disease in the urban environment.
Moreover, the common people do not attach as much as important to these aspects as they should, until they become victims.
In the past, the mothers used to breastfeed their babies up to one year as per elders’ advice. Nowadays, there is neither anyone to advise nor young mothers are willing to follow as a result of which they become prone to early breast cancer.
Consumption of non-vegetarian diet resulting in either the early onset of puberty or delayed puberty is also another cause.
Similarly, delayed menopause, unwanted intake of different hormonal medicines, obesity and absence of sufficient physical work etc. lead to cancer attack.
Preventive check mechanism for breast cancer:-
As regards breast cancer, adequate self-tests must be attempted by women without any hesitation or shyness. Even the working women do not give importance. For instance, one should try to feel and find whether she there is any lump on her breast, any pain in her armpit, any pain or irritation in her breast or secretion of blood-tainted liquid from the nipple, pain in the nipple, irritation, change of colour of skin, scaling, turning inwards, any change in mole and wart etc. In the case of any change in the normal structure, necessary tests like mammography, scan etc. must be taken immediately to rule out the breast cancer.
Preventive check mechanism for cervical cancer:-
Strangely, the awareness of this particular cancer is widespread in the minds of women. Medical experts view that HPV Virus 16, 18 type of injection if administered on the girls upon attainment of puberty with her consent, cervical cancer may be prevented to some extent. While in about 80 countries this injection is used, it is yet to be implemented in India for it is little costly. Early marriage, unsafe sex practice, lack of sanitation, HIV/AIDS, intake of medicines for abortion, lack of nutritious diet, ignorance of disease etc. are responsible for this type of cancer. Warts that crop up both inside and outside the vaginal area must be looked into. Possible tests are a) cytology – examining the cell structure; b) visual screening – examination of visible symptoms; c) Pap smear - tissue culture examination; d) CT – computed tomography; e) MRI – Magnetic resonance imaging; f) PET – positron emission tomography etc.. These tests would help one understand the presence of this cervical cancer.
Women who complain weakness, sudden weight loss, a cyst in ovaries and uterus (Pcod), irregular monthly periods, excessive menstrual bleeding etc. should immediately go for the initial screening test. The improper and irregular hormone will cause the growth of endometriosis in the uterus which will ultimately result in endometrial cancer. Infertility drugs also cause this cancer. Once cancer is detected, there are three methods followed to arrest further growth and cure the disease. One is chemotherapy (sending the medicine through blood vessels); second is radiation (external application) and third is brachytherapy (surgical process) put together called Tumour Board Treatment will be undertaken. Periodical seminars and awareness programs on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are being organized from time to time. Since the incidence is more, the awareness campaign should reach out to the masses in the rural regions also. Researchers feel that the nurses should be trained to conduct the screening tests at the rural sites and help out the victims at the initial stage itself.
Our eating habits:-
As part of our daily eating habits, we must inculcate the practice of taking organically grown vegetables, fruits and grains devoid of genetic changes, wheatgrass essence, vilva essence, thorn custard apple, seeds of black grapes, broccoli etc. which are capable of killing the cancerous cells. These natural remedies do not have any side effects. They will definitely control the severity of the disease. We must understand and appreciate the fact that our traditions start not only from silk dhothies and sarees but also from homely and natural food. The latest culture is cell phone addiction which has not spared even the rural people. The radiation effect caused by the ubiquitous towers is yet another problem that we have simply ignored.
The level of ignorance and fear factor is such that on hearing that the mother has had cancer, both the son and the daughter have run out of their house which is highly condemnable.
More than the medical attention, necessary counsel, consolation, mental strength and encouragement and above all positive feelings of hope and courage must be injected by the near and dear to the sufferers. Physical exercise, walking, meditation and yoga practice could also be suggested. Inspiring stories of real life and victory over the disease of several individuals are available in abundance. These must also be shared with them so that they will gain extraordinary self-confidence and doubtless that they would again come back to normalcy just like the phoenix bird.
(This article originally written in Tamil by Akila Krishnamurthy has been reproduced in English by P S Ramamurthy)