Medical Seminar on Cancer Awareness
Natasha Fernandes IIK Young Reporter
Monday, March 13, 2017
These days we have all heard at one point or the other either someone in a family, a relative or a friend has been diagnosed with the Big “C” that is Cancer. We being students are not fully aware what “Cancer” is all about and for this reason Nilaav Kuwait a socio charitable organization in the forefront of cancer awareness and life support conducted a Medical Seminar on Cancer Awareness for volunteer children from Indian schools all over Kuwait. The program was named as Young Talents- Volunteers for Cancer Awareness, which was held on the 25th of February at the Community Hall, Jleeb al Shyoukh (Abaasiya). Renowned guests who were present were Mr. Sunil Jain (Ambassador of India in Kuwait), Dr. V. P Gangadharan – Indian Oncologists and Patron of the Cochin Cancer Society & Dr. K. Chitrathara – M.D in Gynecology and MCh in Urology who is also the first lady Urologist in Kerala.
The welcome address was given by Mr. Abdul Fathah Thayyil, Patron of Nilaav Kuwait. He talked about cancer and that even men can be diagnosed with Breast cancer which was a mind-blowing fact. He also said that the most common types of cancer were Breast and Prostate cancer. He also talked about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, physical fitness and balanced diet. After this, a speech was given by Dr. Amir Ahmed who also gave us an insight about this deadly disease. These sequences of events led to the inauguration of the seminar by Mr. Sunil Jain. After this wonderful inaugural speech, there was the vote of thanks given by Mr. Mujeebulla, Treasurer of Nilaav Kuwait who had thanked all the schools and teachers for coming to the seminar. Mr. Mohamed Rafeek introduced the purpose of the program. In his speech he mentioned about inspirational story of Terry Fox who was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 19. Because of this they had to amputate the bone, once they had given him an artificial leg he founded the charity known as the Marathon of Hope.
After this heartwarming speech, the stage was handed over to Dr. V. P. Gangadharan. “Is cancer curable?”, “Can a cancer patient lead a normal life once they are treated”, “ Is cancer contagious?” were questions that were asked to us children. The answers that were given were yes, yes and no respectively. Then there was another question that arose which was “Is Cancer hereditary?”. The Dr. said there was a 5% chance only. So, the main question asked was “What is Cancer?”. The answer given by the Dr. was simple and he said that cancer is an uncontrollable division of cells that are heterogeneous in a part of a body. He said that Cancer cells attack other cells and cause local invasion and after this they move on to the other parts of the body. This is known as metastasis (secondary sight) and most of the cancer that pass away are because of this secondary sight. So, there must be early detection of cancer. Cancer is said to happen at any age but the risk increases as the age increases.
The Dr. also talked about what causes Cancer. Environment and genes combined cause cancer. Cancer can also be Hereditary or caused due to Chemicals, Radiation and some Viruses and Bacteria. The Genes involved are-
1.The activation of Protooncogenes.
2.Inactivation of tumor suppressor genes.
3.Inactivation of genomic stability genes.
The viruses that cause Cancer are HPV (Cervical cancer), EP virus(Burkitt lymphoma) and HBV cancer(liver cancer). Next the Dr. talked about the diagnosis of cancer which is known as Biopsy which means that the specialist looks at the sample of the affected tissue. Next the aims of cancer treatment were talked about. This includes Prevention, Early detection, Cure, Prolongation of survival and Palliation. In order to prevent all this, we must not use tobacco and alcohol and have a balanced diet. 90% of the cancer deaths are caused because tobacco and 30%-40% of general cancer deaths are also caused because of Tobacco. Colorectal cancer is caused because of drinking Alcohol and because of the diet.
Then Dr. also talked about how are diet should be. We should eat more fruits and veggies. Our food should be rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers and phytochemicals. We should also follow the plate method which is 50% of our food for both fruits and vegetables and 25% should be whole grain and protein. Dr. V. P. Gangadharan concluded by saying the slogan “Early diagnosis and proper treatment.”
Next the stage was handed over to Dr. K Chitrathara. Dr. talked about primary prevention which is Tobacco control and vaccination. Secondary prevention includes Early detection, screening and treatment. Since HPV causes many cancers HPV DNA testing must be done. In India, this vaccine this given to girls. 2 vaccines are gives one is quadrivalent the other is bivalent. A pap smear and the HPV DNA test must be done once in 5 years. Leukoplakia and Erythroplakia are signs of cancer. Breast cancer is also incurable at stage 4 and there is a change of the disease coming back again. Detection of tumors can be done by Ultrasound and Mammography which should be done annually for women above the age of 40 years. The risk increases if the women does not have children, is overweight or obese or being diabetic. The warning signs include a lump on the Breast. To check the lump is malignant or not fine needle aspiration is done.
The next thing the Dr. talked about is colon cancer. A colonoscopy should be done every 10 years at the minimum. A fecal occult blood must be done annually and a flexible sigmoidoscopy must be done every 5 years. For prostate cancer, a blood test known as PSA and an Examination known as DRE must be done.
Personally, I feel this was a very informative Seminar on Cancer Awareness and it will help me to spread the message to others. And what I can conclude is that Cancer is curable if diagnosed at an early stage. We must maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. Women above the age of 40 should get a mammography done annually. A big thank you to Nilaav Kuwait for holding this informative seminar and I look forward to being part of similar programs in the future too.
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