Good news! Mandatory cancer screening will prevent many deaths!
Starting November, you could be screened for these cancers if you are over 30.
The Union government took a progressive and much-needed step towards reducing the Cancer burden in India. According to the report, screening for three types of cancers will be made mandatory in people with age more than 30 years.
Oral cancer, Breast cancer and cervical cancer have two things in common. These are among the most common types of cancer seen in India. But the most important aspect is with proper screening, most of them could be avoided!
We want to make our readers aware of what they can expect in these screening procedures and why they should undergo them without fail. Most of the reader mums are around the age group. If not past 30, you are going to hit the number soon! The idea of this article is not to tell you everything about cancer. The idea is to inform you that this news is, in fact, a great news!
What are these cancers?
Oral and Breast cancers, as the name suggests, affect the lining of the mouth and the breast tissue respectively. Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix- the mouth of the uterus or the womb. As the sites can be accessed with a certain ease, the screening procedures are easier, more accurate and better accepted. Here are a few facts about the three types of cancers, based on the data from National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research
1# Cancers of Lungs and Oral cavity in males and of breast and cervix in females account for more than half the cancer-related deaths.
2# Breast and Cervical cancers are the two most common cancers in women accounting for about 50% of the cases.
3# Lip and oral cavity cancers are the most common cancers in men accounting for 1 in 9 cancers.
4# Yes, Breast cancer can also happen in men.
5# If detected early, these cancers are quite treatable!
So what can be done to detect these early? The answer is simple: mass screening!
Read on to know how to be safe from these cancers
The power of screening
Screening is a process where a ‘target population’ is checked for any signs of a particular disease/disorder. For cancer screening, you will have to undergo a relatively simple test that would tell you if everything is okay or not.
If everything is okay, great! Get screened the next time as well!
If everything is not okay, don’t panic. It does not mean you have Cancer. It just means that you need to be checked further. The next test is called as a ‘diagnostic test’.
Many times, it turns out to be nothing. The screening test is designed in such a way that a cancer patient should not give an ‘alright’ signal on the test. It is okay if a normal person is checked further for cancer, isn’t it?
So, for Oral cancers, the doctors will try and find out if you can open the mouth fully. Next, they will try to assess if the lining of the mouth is healthy. A thickening of the mucosa or white spots may be pre-cancerous. The doctor may then ask you to undergo further tests.
For Breast cancer, you can be screened through a blood test and through mammography. If the doctor finds something unusual, you would need to undergo further tests to get a better picture.
For Cervical cancer screening, PAP smear is done. Further tests like a biopsy might be indicated if the smear turns out abnormal.
Mums, beyond the screening processes, it is important that you screen yourself regularly. Kick all the bad habits while you can. Encourage your husbands to give up tobacco in any form. If you indulge in it, stop!
Understand self-breast examination from your doctor. If you have a family history of breast cancer, the chances of you getting it are high. So keep an eye out for any lumps that you may feel. Get a PAP smear done actively without the government enforcing it on you. Afterall, it is your health that is the most important thing, isn’t it?
(Image Courtesy: A Savin)