On World Cancer Day (4th February), Dr Manish K Singhal, Cancer Specialist, Fortis Hospital joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the subject.
Q. What are the symptoms of a developing liver cancer? Asked by: Rohit
A. Most of so called as Liver cancers are the ones which spread from somewhere else. Livers own cancers called as hepatocellular carcinomas are ones which generally arise from 3 risk factors - excessive alcohol, Hepatitis B and C. Symptoms include - jaundice, pain in the region, swelling below the right chest, loss of weight and appetite and at times unremitting fever.
Q. What should a healthy person do to stay away from cancer? Asked by: vinny
A. Staying active, maintain ideal BMI, watch diet, have adequate quantity of fresh water, having lots of fresh fruits and season vegetables, abstain form tobacco and alcohol, vaccination for cervical cancer if you are a female and hepatitis B for all, de-stressing by relaxation techniques and keeping a positive frame of mind, Lastly do not ignore an untoward and chronic symptom
Q. Are there Insurance companies which cover cancer to reduce Patient burden? Asked by: gaurav
A. All do.
Q. What causes cancer? Is it hereditary disease? Asked by: Isha
A. There are many causes of cancer. Many still remain unknown. Tobacco, Alcohol, sedentary Life style, pollution, exposure to radiations and chemicals, stress are certain modifiable causes. Cancer can be hereditary, but such cancers account for 2% of all cases. One family member does not increase the risk as against popular belief. Generally speaking, atleast 3 family members of same cancer and 2 successive generation need to affected to call cancer to be genetically linked.
Q. Can Cancer be prevented? Asked by: Raghu
A. 40% cancers are said to be tobacco related- so are clearly preventable. Another 10% are preventable by life style modifications such as staying active maintaining ideal BMI, etc. Some are preventable by vaccines such as Cervical cancer vaccine and Hepatitis B vaccine for Liver cancer (note HepB is not the only but a major cause of liver cancer). So all in all 50-60% cancers are preventable.
Q. What precautions should be taken by someone working in IT industry where one tends to get sedantry. Asked by: J
A. Although it needs to be asserted that being active and maintaining a recommended body Mass Index is important. But if specifically asked of precautions in a sedentary life style, I think it is important to watch diet, have adequate quantity of fresh water, having lots of fresh fruits and season vegetables, de-stressing by relaxation techniques and keeping a positive frame of mind.
Q. What are the options available for a patient to self diagnose a possible cancer in first stage? Asked by: d_star
A. First and fore most is to be aware of your body. Do not ignore a chronic symptoms such as change in bowel habits, cough, weight loss or loss of appetite, any swelling in body anywhere etc. Such symptoms warrant investigations. Screening tests for cancer recommended for public use are 1. Mammography once in a year or atleast once in 2 years, after the age of 40 yrs - for breast cancer screening. 2. PSA a blood test after the age of 50 yrs once in a year - for prostate cancer screening 3. Pap smear once in a year or 2 yrs after the age of 30 yrs - for cervical cancer screening.