National Cancer Awareness Day is celebrated In India every year since 2014 on November 7 to raise awareness about cancer , its causes and preventive measures .
Table of Contents
History of National Cancer Awareness day :
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan was the first to announce the National Cancer Awareness day in September 2014. Hence , it was first celebrated in September 2014 and is dedicated to the early identification and treatment of cancer. Later it was observed on Nov 7 .
What is Cancer ?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines cancer as “a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 9.6 million deaths in 2018. The most common cancers are lung (2.09 million cases), breast (2.09 million cases), and colorectal (1.80 million cases). Cancer can be defined as the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells, which can occur in almost any part of the body.”
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Causes of cancer :
Cancer can be caused by genetic factors, environmental factors, or a combination of both. Early detection and treatment are essential for improving the chances of survival and quality of life for individuals with cancer.
Genetic mutations: Changes in a person’s DNA can lead to the development of cancer.
Tobacco use: Smoking and smokeless tobacco are major contributors to lung, mouth, and throat cancers.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation: Excessive sun exposure and tanning beds can cause skin cancer.
Carcinogenic chemicals: Exposure to substances like asbestos, benzene, and formaldehyde increases cancer risk.
Radiation exposure: Ionizing radiation, such as from X-rays or nuclear accidents, can be a carcinogen.
Viral infections: Some viruses like HPV, hepatitis B and C, and Epstein-Barr virus are linked to cancer.
Poor diet: Diets high in processed foods, red meat, and low in fruits and vegetables are associated with cancer.
Obesity: Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for several types of cancer.
Alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol use is a risk factor for various cancers, including liver and mouth cancer.
Hormones: Certain hormonal imbalances or hormone replacement therapies can increase cancer risk, like breast and ovarian cancer.
Types of cancer :
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There are many different types of cancer, each originating in specific tissues or organs. Some common types of cancer include , breast cancer , lung cancer , prostate cancer, Colorectal cancer (colon and rectal cancer), Skin cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Ovarian cancer, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Brain cancer, Bladder cancer, Kidney cancer, Liver cancer, Stomach (gastric) cancer, Thyroid cancer, Cervical cancer, Esophageal cancer, Uterine (endometrial) cancer, Testicular cancer, Sarcoma (soft tissue and bone cancers).
There are numerous other uncommon and less common forms of cancer; these are just a few examples. Treatment options, symptoms, and risk factors can vary depending on the type of cancer.
Preventive Measures :
As stated by Wockhart Hospitals , as many as 1.1 million new cancer cases are reported every single year in India and a large proportion of these cases are detected only after the disease has already surpassed the safe stage.
The following measures can be taken as a precaution and safety guide to protect yourself from cancer :
- Avoid tobacco: Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.
- Healthy diet: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit processed foods.
- Limit alcohol: Avoid consumption of alcohol.
- Sun protection: Before going out apply an ample amount of sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays.
- Physical activity: Strive to lead an active and healthy lifestyle by doing exercise or yoga.
- Vaccinations: Make sure to vaccinate against HPV and hepatitis B.
- Screening: Follow recommended cancer screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies.
- Infection control: Practice safe sex and get regular check-ups.
- Chemical exposure: Minimize exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants.
- Genetic counseling: Consider genetic testing if a family history of cancer exists.
Importance of National Cancer Awareness Day :
To mark National Cancer Awareness Day several healthcare organisations, government agencies, and non-profit groups and corporate entities work together to conduct awareness campaigns, seminars, and screenings and move towards reducing the risk of cancer worldwide.
“Prevention is better than Cure ” , we must have heard this atleast once in our life. So strive to lead a healthy and active lifestyle , maintain a balanced diet and take care of both your mental and physical health.