Mumbai: There is a steep rise in the number of cancer cases in the country. The very thought of the physical, psychological, and financial burden the disease poses, instills fear in the minds of families. However, one must understand that with advances in diagnostics and therapeutics, it is possible to gain an upper hand over even dreadful diseases like cancer. It is possible to battle cancer if it is spotted at an early stage. Going for regular health checkups and adhering to a healthy lifestyle can be helpful in preventing cancer.
Everyone is scared of the word cancer! There are various methods available to help detect cancer at an early stage. But what is important is knowledge and awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of cancer. Avoid delaying treatment once you notice any abnormal changes occurring in the body. “Cancer cases are increasing due to improved life expectancy and also most of the cancers are caught at a later stage. If cancer is caught in 1 or 2 stages then it is curable. Breast cancer is the most common one found in adult females and upper aerodigestive tract cancer is found commonly in adult men in India. Mammography and health checkups can pick up breast cancer at an early stage. Similarly, avoiding tobacco products and going for regular screening of the oral cavity will be helpful too,” said Dr Rakesh Badhe, surgical oncologist, Apollo Spectra Mumbai.
Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher said, “The need of the hour is to create awareness regarding annual health check-ups to enable early detection of any unwanted changes in the body. Prompt treatment with immunotherapy and regenerative approach can go a long way in controlling the condition with minimal impact on the general health of the patient. We have entered a new era where therapies are now being based on molecular/cellular aspects having a target-specific approach. For example, immunotherapy based on natural killer and dendritic cells, among others are capable of inducing, sustaining, and regulating T cell responses, which then target cancer cells. The advantage is that these cells belong to our immune system, and can be “educated” to specifically target cancer cells. Thus, the side effects associated with conventional therapies, wherein even normal cells may be attacked, can be avoided through immunotherapy. These cells can be given as vaccines after isolation from the patients’ body.”
“Similarly, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be utilized as “vehicles” or “carriers” to deliver anti-cancer molecules due to their tumor-tropic property. MSCs have been shown to modulate the immune environment. Therefore, when cancer cells cause dysregulation of the immune system, these cells act to reset the balance. Moreover, with MSC-derived exosomes, one can ensure targeted delivery of the desired drugs or other anti-tumor agents. So, do not panic when you are diagnosed with cancer. Just seek immediate medical attention,” concluded Dr Mahajan.