Medical Oncology Early Detection Of Cancer Can Save More lives

Early Detection Of Cancer Can Save More lives

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you would ever imagine. Do not let cancer cause you to forget your worth. Cancer is just a word not a death sentence, just be aware with an early diagnosis and treatment, you can emerge out victorious.”

Cancer is a dreadful disease and a mere thought of it chills the spine. This life-threatening disease has taken millions of lives over time and continues to haunt us as we can never predict the occurrence of this deadly disease. If we talk about any detrimental disease, courage is what one needs to fight back. Akin cancer needs abundant courage and mental strength to recuperate. So ultimately what’s needed is the mental strength to cope with a physical affliction. Diseases like cancer can take a toll on mental health firmly, in-turn we become physically unfit to cope with the disease and feel devastated, curse God for choosing us to endure such hardships, curse our destiny and finally trod down to negativity.


There are multiple factors that cause cancers. The cause cannot be pinpointed as it is multifactorial in origin. Interaction between a person’s genetic factors and the different types of external carcinogenic agents such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation, chemicals such as tobacco smoke components, asbestos and infections from certain pathogens such as human papillomavirus, is what results in the abnormality in cells. Other factors include ageing and physical inactivity. Around about 5-10% of cancers can develop even because of genetic mutations inherited from parents. But the important point is early and timely detection of cancer cells and early treatment offered to cancer patients can save more lives.

The incidence of this disease is more in females than male counterparts.

The incidence of cancer among females is estimated to be higher than males. Incidence of the disease among females was 6.43 lakhs in 2016 and to 7.12 lakh cases in 2020. The number of females diagnosed with cancer is estimated to increase by more than 8 lakhs by 2025. Meanwhile, the incidence of the disease among males was 6.16 lakh in 2016, and surged up to 6.79 lakhs in 2030 and projected to reach 7.63 lakh cases by 2025.


Breast Cancer:   Women are more prone to this type of cancer. Cells present in the breast multiply abnormally rapidly causing lumps or enlargement of breasts, it is usually caused in the lobules or the breast ducts. It generally affects ladies above 40 years of age.  It could be due to starting early periods before the age of 12 years or entering menopause later than the typical age.

  • Any painless lump in the breast
  • Inverted nipples
  • Redness of breast
  • Itching of nipple
  • Bleeding from the nipple
  • Retraction of nipples and any swelling in the armpit

Cancer in the mouth, throat, lung and food pipe:  There were about 77,000 new cases of oral cancer and about 52,000 deaths reported in India.

  • Cough and blood in the sputum
  • A sore throat that doesn’t go away by intaking regular medicines

Colon and Rectum Cancer: Colon cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells in the inner line of the large intestine.

  • Bleeding in stool,
  • Diarrhoea, constipation and abnormal bowel movement,
  • Abdominal pain

The bladder, Kidney and Prostrate cancer:

  • Blood in urine
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Lower back pain on one side of the body
  • Frequent and painful urination.

Endometrial cancer:  Cancer of the uterus

  • Abnormal bleeding after menopause
  • Foul-smelling, thick vaginal discharge that is pink in colour.
  • Pain in lower abdomen and pain in legs and other symptoms faced during PMS.

Fever: This is a common condition that we ignore. Due to the cancer development, body temperature changes causing fever. Fever is one of the first signs of lymphomas and leukaemia cancer.

Fatigue:  Extreme tiredness on a regular basis indicates that something is not right with your body and you must get yourself tested once. 

Pain: Some cancer such as multiple myeloma and bone cancer causes pain which is due to the growth of tumours in the bone. Generally, this occurs in the case of Metastasized cancer. 

Skin changes:  If your skin is turning pale or yellow, this indicates that either you have low haemoglobin level or Jaundice. You have underlying cancer that can cause anaemia and jaundice for example Gall Bladder cancer, Pancreatic cancer,  Cholangiocarcinoma and liver cancer. 

Digestive problems:  Improper bowel movements, diarrhoea, constipation, etc are common signs of Colon cancer.

This year as we observe World Cancer Day on February the 4th with the theme “I am and I will”, we must bust some stigmas related to the disease and support people who are adversely going through. Around 1/3rd of the cancers can be prevented and common ones like bladder, ovarian, breast and testicular cancers have survival rates 3 times higher if diagnosed in early stages. So, not every cancer is dreadful one needs to have the audacity to fight them.  The only thing we are left with after the disease is diagnosed is to keep calm, gather fortitude, research and connect with people who motivate you to live life with an aim to survive. Get inspired and inspire others, become a role model. Good mental health is what provokes us to bounce back. You can be either a victim to cancer or a warrior. The choice is yours. Remember you have cancer, don’t let cancer have you.

Dr. JB Sharma
Sr. Consultant – Medical Oncology