by S Sharma | 03 FEB 2018
Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) cancer theme for this year is ‘We can. I can’. The theme explores how everyone together or individually help reduce global burden of cancer.
As a cancer specialist, Dr M. Babaiah, MD (AIIMS), Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Medical Director, American Oncology Institute strongly believes in creating awareness.
“Cancer is definitely on the increase. We are expected to have 12 lacs cancer patients in the country this year. Earlier 1 out of every fifth cancer patient in the world was an Indian, now 1 out of every 4 cancer patient is an Indian,” says Dr M. Babaiah, MD (AIIMS), Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Medical Director, American Oncology Institute.
There are about 2.5 million people living with cancer in India and over 7 lakh new cases get registered every year. Of all the various types of cancer, those of the oral cavity and lungs in males and cervix and breast in females account for about 50 percent of all related deaths in the country.
Talking about the new types of cancers and the new factors, stemming from modern life today, that cause cancer, Dr Babaiah says, “HPV related oropharyngeal cancers are new type of cancers. This related to sexual behaviour. Oropharyngeal cancers occur commonly in young people. In India, we are seeing a trend where younger population is getting affected with cancer. Average age incidence of cancer in India is 10 years younger than the world average.”
As a cancer specialist he strongly believe that creating cancer awareness is of paramount importance in the rural sector. “The fear of cancer should be allayed. The rural population should be encouraged to seek medical opinion at an early stage because we do see advanced cancers in the rural population,” he says and adds, “Many people do not know that cancer is not contagious. They still try to isolate the cancer patients at home. One more thing is that the public should know that cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. If detected early, cancer can be cured. Today we are able to cure about 50-60 percent of all the cancers, which is reasonably good.”
So, what should an average young Indian know about protecting himself or herself from cancer? He says, “Young Indians should make lifestyle changes to protect themselves from cancer like eating healthy (avoid junk food and eat more vegetables), avoid habit forming substances and sexual promiscuity etc.”
The educated people think cancer is one disease and one treatment applies to all cancers. He says, “It is not so. The truth is there are a variety of malignancies. The behavior and treatment differ from the type of cancer to the organ affected.”
What is a liquid biopsy?
Liquid biopsy is detection of circulating cancer cells in the blood of a cancer patient.
How have liquid biopsies made life as a cancer doctor easier?
Liquid biopsy helps cancer doctors to predict metastasis. We can tackle the cancer treatment more effectively.
Wouldn't a liquid biopsy be better than no test at all?
Liquid biopsy is not a screening test for cancer for general population. It is recommended for those patients who are already to have cancer.
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