Cancer Awareness

Cancer Awareness-Let’s Be Prepared

Cancer is a word that is associated with fear, confusion, debilitating health conditions and possible loss of life. Especially in a country like India which has seen an exponential growth in the number of people affected by this disease in the past decade, one would imagine that awareness on this topic is stronger and more widespread now. The truth of the matter remains that whatever the extent of awareness created, we always fall short because the numbers have been multiplying at a rate too rapid to catch up to. We will all agree that except for superficial reading on the topic and gaining basic awareness on the types and causes, many of us don’t consider delving deep into the “what” and “how” aspects of this disease.

WHAT confirms a particular type of cancer?

WHAT are the symptoms that should be taken seriously with a possible alignment to existence of cancer?

WHAT treatment is available for cancer treatment?

HOW does one deal with the news of confirmation of cancer?

HOW can the treatment actually help improve the quality of life of patients?

These questions and many more still have vague answers. Wouldn’t you agree that it will be comforting to have the answers to most of cancer related queries, at the tips of your fingers? To meet this requirement, many cancer survivors turned crusaders harp about spreading constant awareness, which is well intended and extremely useful. We will be much benefitted from keeping abreast with the latest developments in the cancer field such as existent & new cancer types, symptoms of possible cancer, statistics of cancer incidence in different states and in the country, medical advancements in the field of cancer therapy and percentage of cancer survivors and their journeys. To give you a small analogy, we keep ourselves updated about the country’s budget though we might not all be mathematicians or accountants, because it directly affects us. It wouldn’t hurt to keep in touch with different types of diseases that the changing world and times bring with them, simply because they could directly affect us. It’s best to be prepared, or a more euphemistic approach would call for the word “awareness”. Let’s also not confuse ourselves by connecting this with a negative mindset. This awareness qualifies as a realistic approach rather than a pessimistic one, wouldn’t you think?

Don’t ignore unusual symptoms:

Any development in your body that is new, that you are not used to, should be a cause for concern. The reason that many people detect cancer only in the advanced stages is because they most often don’t suspect they have cancer. What then, can help with discovering it earlier? It is said that symptoms like persistent headaches, shortness of breath, blood in stools and spittle, chronic cough or hoarseness of the throat, lumps or growths on the body are some symptoms that don’t necessarily confirm cancer but could lead to it. Thus, more knowledge on these aspects will help us take the right kind of action at the right time. A stitch in time saves nine. Similarly, a disease related call taken in time can save lives.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The next level of understanding comes from dealing with a person who has been diagnosed with cancer; it could also be you. There are no answers without questions. So, ask yourself and others around you questions; questions that are big or small, silly or intelligent, but just ask! When you do question, you wonder whether you/he/she can survive it. If so, how & for how long? Will it be painful? Where can we go for help?

Let’s embrace this topic and do away with imaginary stereotypes. It’s safe to say that an attempt at confirmation is better than an assumption.

Solutions to Cancer Related Symptoms

There are answers to all these questions. Many cancer care centres in India offer help in this direction. Palliative Care is one of the therapeutic measures that is fast gaining traction in the field of cancer studies. It is aimed at ameliorating cancer symptoms through reduction of pain and discomfort, medical procedures for countering depression and other psychological & physical repercussions. This procedure is definitely known to alleviate the quality of life of patients who are suffering from advanced stage cancer when many generally feel like all hope is lost. These treatment procedures involve a team of specialists who provide support not only to the patient but also to the family of the inflicted. The days to come can actually be much better than one might envision in the absence of awareness about such care and care centres. If problems can be created, solutions too can; it’s just a matter of making up our minds.

Early palliative care is an approach that is promoted by many palliative care centres. They suggest that when a life threatening disease is identified in its early stages, that much more care can be given by their specialists to keep the quality of life of these patients better than it might have been without their intervention.

Karunashraya in Bangalore is a centre that provides free palliative care to advanced stage cancer patients and has been operational since 1995. They deliver inpatient care as well as homecare through teams of well-trained specialists who customize medical treatment based on the patient’s condition. This organization has been supported by patron organizations and corporations who fund their activities. Its tie-ups with other hospices and educational institutions such as Severn Hospice, NIMHANS and Cardiff University, etc. facilitate strengthening of nursing training and improvement of education related processes and strategies.

If you know a terminally ill cancer patient who needs our care, or for any other information on Karunahsraya, write to info@karunashraya.org

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