Globally, cancer is spreading rapidly, presenting tremendous challenges to healthcare systems around the world. India's 1.3 billion people, spread across 29 states and 7 union territories, with different genetics, environments, lifestyles, etc., disease burden is distributed in a heterogeneous manner.
Patients with cancer in low- or middle-income countries tend to have poorer prognoses compared with their counterparts in high-income countries because of lack of awareness, late diagnosis, and unaffordable treatment costs.
According to data from four major centres in India, most cancer patients seek medical care for the first time at the end of the disease. This suggests an awareness problem that results in the late reporting of cancer cases.
A cancer awareness campaign has been emphasized as a tool for promoting behaviour that facilitates early detection, while a cancer eradication campaign has been suggested as a deterrent. Lack of awareness along with myths, superstitions, and illiteracy all contribute to delays in seeking health care. Usually, most of these factors go together.
In India, the national cancer control programme has a screening component, but it has not yet taken root in many parts of the country. There are few screening methods available to the general public, and the ones available are not being utilized adequately. The majority of screening tests are found only in higher educational institutions.
The reason for such gaps in service delivery and utilization should be explored, for which it is important to understand people's attitudes toward screening practices.
Considering the growing incidence of cancer in India, awareness of cancer is likely to change as well as attitudes towards screening for cancer. Research has been limited on awareness of cancer and attitudes towards screening in India.
Early detection and subsequent treatment of cancer can be improved with information regarding cancers and screening procedures.
These are some common Cancers: -
1. Breast Cancer
India is experiencing a rapid increase in cases of breast cancer among women in urban areas. Treatment and management are dependent on its early detection. Many women present with stage III or IV breast cancer due to ignorance, fear, and social stigma. Early detection and less aggressive treatment can virtually eliminate the need for surgery and treatment.
2. Cervical Cancer
India has the second-highest incidence of cervical cancer among women, and it is only cancer that is preventable and can be cured if detected in the pre-cancerous phase.
3. Oral & Lung Cancer
It is highly important to inform people about the risks of chewing tobacco and the dangers of smoking to help prevent these cancers from occurring. Both oral and lung cancers are more common among men and women in both urban and rural areas.
4. Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is a disease that develops when the cells in the bladder grow out of control. As more cancer cells grow, they can form a tumour and spread throughout the body.
5. Colon and Rectal Cancer
The large intestine (colon) is the part of the digestive tract that is the final part to be affected by cancer.
The rectum is the portion of your large intestine just before the anus. It is the last segment of your colon, and starts at the end of that segment and ends when it reaches the narrow passageway to the anus.
6. Endometrial Cancer
The most common cause of endometrial cancer is malignant (cancer) cells occurring within the endometrium. Obesity and metabolic syndrome are factors that increase the risk of this disease. Breast cancer patients who take Tamoxifen and estrogen alone (without progesterone) may risk developing endometrial cancer.
7. Kidney Cancer
There are two kidneys located behind your abdominal organs, one on either side of your spine. Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs that are about the size of your fist.
It is blood cancer, leukemia begins when healthy blood cells grow uncontrollably. There are four main types of leukemia: acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and chronic myeloid leukemia.
It can also occur in your eyes and rarely inside your body, such as in your nose or throat. Melanoma forms in cells that produce melanin - the pigment that gives your skin its colour.
10. Thyroid Cancer
The thyroid produces hormones that affect your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. Cancer develops in the cells of the thyroid gland - a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple.
A major part of cancer awareness relates to the awareness of curability, prevention, and screening methods in the Indian population. Education and location (rural or urban) are also important factors. Television, friends, relatives, and health care professionals were the main sources of information about cancer in the past. As cancer is more prevalent, studies done in different periods may affect cancer awareness levels. The Indian population is generally aware of tobacco and alcohol as risk factors for cancer; their attitude towards screening modalities is also positive. There is a need to increase community awareness to make screening practices better.
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