In this day and age of new and novel medical inventions, we say that we have advanced in health technology and prolonged our life to some extent. The fact is that there are increasingly deadly diseases out there. Out of them, the most feared and well known disease is “cancer”.
Cancer, one of the diseases that doesn’t have a cure, is increasing in its occurrence rapidly. The number of patients suffering from different types of cancer are increasing with each passing year. With no cure and very few screening technologies, the morbidity of cancer is in the rise. Each cancer is unique to itself as various genetic changes can cause cancer. It’s not just that this mutation will cause cancer, but any mutation can cause cancer, and we cannot pinpoint the exact reason for it. So the treatment for cancer is very difficult. We think we can at least try to stay away from cancer but the statistics show otherwise. One cancer which was unknown a few years ago could have the most morbidity rate. So why is this happening? Although not completely verified, we could be the next victim of cancer because of these following reasons.
- Increasing Lifespan: Older people tend to get cancer more often because of their relatively low defense mechanism. Cancer is a genetic disease and as we grow older, our cells accumulate many mutations. Those mutations will reduce the ability of the cell to fightback against cancer. It is unbeatable because we cannot stop aging, but we surely can reduce the rate of aging. With healthy and strict disciplined lifestyle and diet, we can reduce the risk of cancer to a certain extent.
- Lifestyle: Increase in use of carcinogens, like smoke, tobacco, alcohol, processed food, excessive use of fertilizers in food, etc. increases the chance of getting cancer, an increase in consumption of fast food has made human lifestyle very unhealthy. With unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, and a lack of exercise, our immune system gets weak to fight against the cancer cells.
- Increasing Pollution: Pollution is one of the biggest problems for humankind. With increasing pollution of soil, air and water, we are in contact with carcinogenic compounds in our everyday life. Smoke that contains Carbonmonoxide, Benzopyrene etc, cause lung cancer, Formaldehyde, Acetaldehyde (through consumption of alcoholic beverages), Acheson process, arsenic cause skin to stomach cancer.
- Radiation: Exposure to long term in the sun’s UV rays can cause cancer of the skin. The depleting ozone layer also is helping in the harmful UV rays to reach the earth. There are a number of sunscreens that are available but they are also only effective for a limited time. So we should be wary of the sun and long term effects that it can have.
- Viruses: Infections with some viruses, bacteria, and other germs may increase a person's risk for certain types of cancer. There is a link between HIV infection, AIDS, and certain cancers. The human papilloma virus (HPV) links to cancer of the cervix and some other cancers.
There are a few tests to find and diagnose cancer. Screening increases the chances of detecting certain cancers early, when they are most likely to be curable. Tests can be done in many ways, including to look for cancer, to find out how far it has spread, and to help determine if cancer treatment is working. CT Scans, MRI, X-rays, Ultrasound and Mammograms, etc. are a few tests available. Endoscopy, colonoscopy, and biopsy can be done to further the tests and find out the possible cure for cancer. The best thing to do is prevent cancer by taking cautions and not wait for a treatment. Although some type of cancer are curable, not every type has a cure yet.