By Zahra Motorwala.
Cancer is a disease that compels people to wish for death. Cancer is hereditary in my family. My grandmother died of breast cancer and her sister recently had to get one of her breast removed due to the cancer that was slowly spreading to her whole body. But the disease although now cured has made her weak. I’ve heard that my grandmother had suffered a lot in her last days. I never witnessed this as she passed away long before I was born. But a few years back another of my grandmother’s sibling became a victim of this horrid disease. And this time I saw him decline. In a span of two months he went from being six feet tall and broad built, to a weak, thin and feeble person not capable even to stand on his own. Soon it became unbearable to see his condition and we began to wish death for him because that was the only way he would be free of all the pain and grief.
There are no guaranteed treatments and no sure shot remedies for cancer. At most times it’s a process of prolonging life than avoiding death. The treatment which is called chemotherapy is very painful, physically as well as mentally not only for the patient who goes through it but also their family members who watch them through it. When I looked for cancer I came across this definition “The name for diseases in which the body’s cells become abnormal and divide without control. Cancer cells may invade nearby tissues. And they may spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.” Our body is made of millions of cells. These cells multiply and divide on different occasions as per the needs of the body. Cancer is a disease which occurs when the cells in the body begin to divide unceremoniously and in an increasing pace or when they stop dividing completely.
Cancer can be of many kinds and can develop in almost any organ or tissue like lungs, breast, skin, bones, nerve tissues, brain, ovary, kidney, liver or uterine. This can have many causes but some of the popularly known causes are excessive alcoholism, viruses, obesity, radiation and also exposure to excessive sunlight. Most of the time the cause of cancer is always in question and sometimes cancer cannot even be detected till it reaches a stage where there is no remedy or control measure. This makes it an even more dangerous illness as its origin and control are still not sure with doctors. The most commonly heard of cancer is lung cancer which happens largely due to smoking cigarette. When detected in the initial stages cancer can be prevented with the kind of medicines available today but this happens rarely although the there is a rise in successful cases. The misery of the patient starts even before he is detected with the illness with the amount of tests that they have to go through. There are a multiple test which are required to be done for doctors to come to a final conclusion about the disease because it is very difficult to diagnose cancer or its cause.
There are some famous cancer hospitals which work towards treating cancer patients and researching new methodologies to fight cancer like the Tata memorial hospital in Mumbai and the Cancer Foundation of India which is also a registered non-profit voluntary organization dedicated to campaign for cancer prevention and control in India. (www.indiacancer.org).
According to a website http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC546104/, in a survey conducted in 2005, the incidence of gall bladder cancer in women in New Delhi is 10.6 per 100 000 of the population—the world’s highest rate for women for this cancer. Districts in central, south, and northeast India had the world’s highest incidence of cancers associated with tobacco, which is chewed as well as smoked in India. Aizawl district in the northeastern state of Mizoram has the world’s highest incidence of cancers in men of the lower pharynx (11.5 per 100 000 people) and tongue (7.6 per 100 000 people). The district also has the country’s highest rate of stomach cancer among men. The incidence of mouth cancer among men in Pondicherry was 8.9 per 100 000, one of the highest rates in the world for men. Rates of stomach cancer were high among men in Bangalore and Chennai. Thus with such high rates of cancer in the country we should learn the cause of cancer and its prevention methods so that we can be protected.