One woman dies of cancer cervix in India every 8 minutes. Death due to tobacco use in India is estimated to be 3500 every day. In 2018 over 3 lacs Indians died due to cancers caused by tobacco abuse. Cancer-related deaths account for over 7 lacs, 84 thousand per year in India. Cancers of oral cavities and lungs account for 25% of cancer deaths in males, and cancer of breasts and oral cavity account for 25 % of cancers in females.

What are the top 5 cancers in men and women?

In men, the commonest cancers in India are lip, oral cavity, lung, stomach, colorectal and oesophagus in women breast, lip and oral, cervix, lung and gastric cancers are more common in India. These cancers can be prevented, screened and treated at an early stage. This could significantly reduce the death rate from these cancers.

What are breast cancer signs and symptoms?

A new mass or lump in the breast is the commonest symptom. If it is a hard mass, it is more likely to be cancerous. Unexplained change or size of the breast, unexplained shrinkage of the breast, unexplained swelling of breast especially on one side, dimpling anywhere in the breast, sunken or inverted nipple, clear or bloody discharge other than breast milk, uneven areas or pores on the skin that resemble orange peel, swelling of glands or lymph nodes in the armpits or around collar bones should put you on alert.

What about colorectal cancer?

Changes in bowel habits, including persistent constipation, a feeling of not being able to evacuate the bowels completely, the urgency to move the bowels or changes in the consistency of stools, rectal bleeding or black stools, persistent abdominal pain, gasses, cramps, or bloating. Unexplained fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss should be taken seriously. Pelvic pain occurs at a later stage of the disease.

What are the warning symptoms for oral cancer?

A persistent sore in the mouth or face that does not heal, difficulty or decrease in opening the mouth, a lump or hard mass in the neck, chronic pain in the jaw, mouth or tongue, difficulty in chewing or swallowing, unexplained bleeding in the mouth, hoarseness, or change in voice and unexplained weight loss should put you on alert. Development of white, red, or mixed patches on the tongue, gums, or inner linings of the mouth that persist for more than 2 weeks, should make you see your doctor. Loss of appetite should be informed to your family doctor and should be properly evaluated.

What are the early symptoms of gastric or stomach cancer?

Difficulty in swallowing, feeling bloated after small meals, black stools, fatigue and weight loss, distension of abdomen, breathlessness, constipation, stomachache, persistent vomiting with or without food, unexplained persistent nausea, severe persistent heartburn or nausea should put you on alert.

What about Prostate cancers?

Early cancers of the prostate may not have symptoms. Most of the symptoms are due to an enlarged prostate causing urinary complaints. Difficulty in urination, the urgency to pass urine, increased frequency of urination at night, incomplete bladder emptying, blood in urine, blood in semen, erectile dysfunction, bone pains, weakness or numbness in feet, exhaustion, weight loss are few symptoms of prostate cancer. Many of these are also seen in benign enlargement.

What are the early symptoms of blood cancers?

Leukaemia symptoms vary depending on the type of leukaemia. Common symptoms include fever and chills, persistent fatigue and weakness, frequent or severe infections, losing weight without trying, swollen lymph nodes or enlarged liver or spleen, easy bleeding or bruising, recurrent nose bleeds, tiny red spots on the skin, excessive sweating particularly at night and bone pain and tenderness are few common symptoms. The overall incidence of all cancers is increasing in India at a very rapid rate. Under these circumstances, early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better survival rates and can delay the spread of cancers to vital organs like the liver, lungs, brain, or bones. See your doctor if you have the above symptoms that persist for 2 weeks or more.

What about cervical cancer?

This is the second most common cancer in Indian women. This is a preventable dis-ease as it has a long pre-malignant phase that can be detected by regular screening tests and follow up. More Indian women die of cervical cancer than in any other country. It is advisable to see your doc. For if you have bleeding or spotting between periods or have unusually long or excessive blood loss. Excessive vaginal discharge that is foul at times, vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse, pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse should put you on alert. Please see your Gynaecologist if you have these symptoms.

What are the early symptoms of lung cancer?

A persistent cough that gets worse despite usual treatment, shortness of breath, cough with blood-stained sputum. Coughing of frank blood, wheezing, pain in the chest or at shoulder, unexplained weight loss, feeling of extreme tiredness.

Categories : Cancer

Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.

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