Today is a special day !! Participate & Act !

World Cancer Day : 4th Feb 1

Today 04TH FEBRUARY is a special day for many people in the

world all over. It is very important for 18 million people of last year, 19

million more people this year and has been important to many millions of

people so far. It will be important to increasing numbers each year and the

future generations to come. This is not like other celebration days when

gifts, cards, greetings are exchanged, and festivities happen. There are

no crackers, to burst or flowers to distribute. There are no special treats

or foods or parties. There is no exchange of hugs, greetings or messages

or tell jokes about. It is not a day to pay tributes to some heroes, celebrate

festival or an event either.

This is the day to remind ourselves, of the looming danger over all

us today and for our next generations in the future. It did not and will not

spare anyone irrespective of richness, literacy, status, position,

profession, country, race, religion, age, or gender. This menace has

quietly victimized many in the past and will victimize many more in future.

When victimized, in the victims there is agony, pain, anguish, anger,

frustration, tears and many a times victory too!!

The so-called development, industrialization, innovations of all kinds

of machines, new chemicals, environmental changes, have facilitated a

change in our lifestyles and habits. From laborious, active, simple past

routine in a pure environment, we hopped into to an industrious,

machinery, inactive routine in a polluted environment. We added on many

artificial, chemical and unknowingly hazardous things in our life.

Unfortunately, the development of the society has led to development of

an unseen giant of non-communicable diseases- diabetes, obesity, high

blood pressure, heart diseases, strokes and of course cancer.

The change in our lifestyle has just not changed our diet, habits, way

of living, appearances, behaviours but penetrated into the very deep and

ultimate core of our beings — the genes. These changes in genes have

brought in a tendency of indiscipline in our cells, total autonomy, tendency

to ignore the natural calls for control, and body limits. They have learnt to

grow uncontrollably, cross all limits, borders and spread anywhere, drain

the body energy and mass to the least possible and ultimately cessation

of life. Identifying and control of these cells requires a lot of energy,

strategies, medicines, rays and skills almost with military precision. This

is possible but when done at the right time and manner.

Yes, you have guessed it right, we are talking about cancer! Please

don’t stop reading ! it is very much relevant to you ! Even you could be a

victim tomorrow! Would like to remind you of innocent young men and

women who are victims of cancer as the wise and elderly. We are seeing

more younger people than ever before. Am I not reminded of a 14 year

old boy with a stage 4 colon cancer or a 23 year old young girl with breast

cancer ! Visit any oncologist’s clinics all over India, more stories will pour

out.

Friends, today 4th February is world cancer day. World Cancer Day

is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite

together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. What do we do

on this day and thereafter? Not just talk or read and forget or make it a

point to mention! There is a need for each of us in this world, irrespective

of whatever we are or wherever we are to learn, plan, act and change.

Gain knowledge about cancer, and spread it ! To make people aware of

cancer, its impact on an individual and his family and society.

So what do we learn about cancer? Simple. It is a life style disease

as is diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity etc. Therefore it is very much

preventable, simply by adopting healthy lifestyle. Eat lots of fruits,

vegetables, avoid red meat and processed meat, maintain ideal body

weight, exercise well, don’t use tobacco, follow healthy sexual habits,

vaccinate against infections, and let mothers breast feed the new born.

It is possible to detect cancer early. Look out for lumps and

unexplained and unusual symptoms. Consult your physician or local

hospital or cancer centre. Consult oncologists for family cancers or if there

is a doubt. It is possible to treat and cure cancers. Let the oncologists

handle and treat promptly and correctly. Talking of costs! Yes for those

who can’t manage on their own, there are many ways to manage them.

Several government hospitals, offices, NGOs, hospitals provide free care

and financial assistance. Just guide them! For the young, healthy and self sufficient,there is a small piece of advice. The way you have insured your

bike or car, insure for your and family’s health! They are more important

than your car or bike!

There are several myths about the cancer. That it is incurable, it is

infectious, it is a curse, starvation can cure cancer, biopsy or surgery will

spread it, chemotherapy kills the patients, and so on. Bust these myths !

They are dangerous and keep the people from doing right things. More

important, don’t spread rumours or wrong, unauthenticated, unproven

information! When you confront some information or message first check,

find out, question rather than blindly believing it and forwarding it! Don’t

be a victim or let someone become a victim of unauthentic information!

Let us come to some hard facts. About 18 million people are

diagnosed in the world with cancer each year and 1.3 million in India.

These join the vast cancer world of 30 million. The numbers are likely to

go up by at least 50 % by 2040. It is the second common cause of death

in the world but responsible for most expensive economic toll. The total

direct cost of cancer in the world, in 2008 was approximately 895 billion

US dollars, representing 1.5 % world GDP. Indirect costs can be imagined

to wildest extent. Give this figure the inflation and increase of 25%

absolute increase in numbers of cancer patients in last decade.

Calculators may stop working!!

I am sure you would have got up to do something for caner today

and from today onwards. Take more people and join as a force to fight

cancer. Start today, on the world cancer day and let some time in your life

be devoted to it. One does not have to worry about resources for this work.

Visit https://www.worldcancerday.org/materials of UICC, the world

organization for cancer, which observes the world cancer day on 04th

February each year. India is an active member of this organization. You

can join it free as an individual or with your friends or team or organization.

Obtain the material, learn, and spread the messages. You too say “I am

and I will” with the world !. Get involved in any way. Because together we

can bring the change. Let us all dream and work for a ‘cancer free world’

– for us, our future generations, by preventing cancer, detecting early,

treating cancer. Bust the myths and spread the awareness.

Dr Ranga Rao Rangaraju,

Senior director, Medical Oncology,

Max Institute of Cancer care,

Max Superspeciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh,

New Delhi

ranga.rao@maxhealthcare.com; rangaraorr@gmail.com

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