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19 Dec 2016

Weighing risk of cancer, where do you stand?

HT, 19 Dec 2016, Kolkata: Healthy people should also go for regular health screening tests at least once a year to check whether they have cancer. Any form of cancer, if detected early, can be cured.
A panel discussion organised by The Bengal Oncology Foundation at GD Birla Sabhaghar on Sunday suggested this saying each individual to undergo a minimum of one health check-up and screening each year.
The topic of the day was ‘Can healthy people be affected by cancer?’ and the main aim of the event was to increase the level of cancer awareness in Bengal. The discussion was moderated by Badsha Maitra and Dr Gautam Mukhopadhyay, onco-surgeon and director of Bengal Oncology Centre. “Any form of cancer, if detected early, can be cured. It is well established that more than half of the cancers are diagnosed in the last stages due to which the survival rate is poor. For this, it is necessary for one to undergo at least one overall health check-up a year,” said Mukhopadhyay.
Cancer is usually asymptomatic, but lumps in any part of the body, breathing trouble, change in the voice, alteration of bowel habits and unnecessary weight loss, if noted for more than a month, must be taken into account immediately. The preliminary tests for early detection include chest x-rays, ultra-sonography, blood tests and other prophylactic tests such as the annual Pap-smear test required for cervical cancer detection. According to the recent cases recorded, women are more prone to breast and cervical cancer, while men are more at risk of getting lung, prostate and oral cancer.
“It is necessary for women over 50 years of age to undergo mammogram screenings and yearly Pap-smear tests while for men belonging to the 60+ age group, it is mandatory for them to take the prostate-specific antigen test and a few other blood tests,” said Dr Subir Ganguly, medical oncologist. In accordance with the general tendency, individuals exposed to alcoholism, pollution, obesity and cigarette smoking are susceptible to cancer. Cancer can also be hereditary. “The basic annual check-up cost might range from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000,” said Mukhopadhyay.

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