National Cancer Awareness Day: 5 Common Cancers in India; symptoms and treatment

National Cancer Awareness Day: 5 Common Cancers in India;  symptoms and treatment

One word is enough to shatter a carefully constructed self-esteem. For patients and their immediate families, receiving a cancer diagnosis is like listening to the footsteps of the grim reaper.

You can’t blame them. Medical science has yet to achieve the breakthrough of discovering a drug that can permanently cure cancer. Although some types of cancer such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, testicular cancer, etc. have a higher chance of patients surviving more than five years after treatment, there are still no guarantees when it comes to recovery from cancer.

According to a 2022 study ‘Call to Action: Making Quality Cancer Care More Accessible and Affordable in India’ initiated by Ernst & Young (EY) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI ), India shares a high cancer burden. The reported incidence of cancer in India is estimated to be around 19-20 lakh. This high incidence is linked to a high rate (29%) of late detection and low penetration of cancer screening programs.

Deaths caused by cancer have increased in the last three decades. Cancer remains among the top five causes of death in India. Estimates indicate that the total number of cancer deaths has been ~8 to 9 lakh in 2020.

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According to
GLOBOCAN According to the 2018 survey, the top five cancers affecting India are breast, lung, oral, cervical and gastric. This National Cancer Awareness Day, we take a look at some common forms of cancer.

Lung cancer

lung cancer canvasAgencies

There are two types of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell. Like most cancers, lung cancer occurs when cell growth and division are interrupted, leading to unnatural proliferation of cells. Gradually, the malignant or ‘cancer’ cells spread to other parts of the body and interfere with the normal function of the organs.

Heavy smokers are more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer

Cigarette smoking remains one of the most common culprits when it comes to causing lung cancer. People over the age of 65 are at higher risk of being diagnosed with one. The most frequent age of diagnosis is 70 years.


  • A persistent cough.
  • hoarseness of voice
  • coughing up blood
  • Weakness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Unexplained infections.

How is it diagnosed?

Patients may be asked to undergo a chest X-ray or CT scan. Sometimes the doctor may suggest a biopsy or the removal of cells or tissue from the affected part of the body. Apparently healthy people may also be asked to undergo lung cancer screening so that lung cancer can be detected at an early stage. The sooner it is, the better it can be treated. Low-dose chest CT-based screening has been found to reduce the number of people who die of lung cancer.


Lung cancer remains one of the most incurable diseases with extremely low survival rates. Many people are diagnosed at an advanced stage, and the lung is a vulnerable organ and may not survive some types of treatment. The two-year overall survival rate for people diagnosed with lung cancer is 25%. According to a report from the Cleveland Clinic, at five years, the survival rate drops to 15%. However, there are some treatments that can be used to slow the growth of cancer cells.


This treatment involves the use of drugs to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be injected directly into a vein (intravenously or intravenously) or given through a catheter, which is a thin tube placed into a large vein.


Radiation therapy is a type of high-energy x-ray that kills cancer cells. It can be used along with chemotherapy to slow the growth of cancer cells and relieve pain.


Early stage lung cancer can be cured by surgery. The tumor and surrounding tissues are removed.

Oral cancer

oral cancer canvasAgencies

This is another very common type of cancer. It usually affects people over 60 years of age.

What causes oral cancer?

  • incessant smoking
  • Alcohol addiction.
  • Spending an excessive amount of time in the sun.
  • Having a family history of oral cancer.


  • Development of white, red, or gray patches in the mouth or throat.
  • You develop sores in your mouth that do not heal within a week.
  • bleeding mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Unexplained weight loss and bad breath.
  • Earache.


  • Doctors may perform surgery to remove tumors in the mouth.
  • Patients may have to undergo partial or complete removal of the tongue.
  • A neck dissection may be done to remove the lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Apart from this, chemotherapy + radiotherapy and immunotherapy can be used to treat oral cancer.

Cervical cancer

cervical cancer canvaAgencies

This is cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix.


Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV, a sexually transmitted infection. HPV is spread from unprotected sex.


  • Bloody vaginal discharge.
  • Frequent and unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Heavy menstrual periods.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain.

How is it diagnosed?

Regular gynecological exams with a Pap test can detect this cancer.


  • Laser surgery: The laser beam is used to burn cancer cells.
  • Cryosurgery is used to freeze malignant cells.
  • Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus.
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

breast cancer

breast cancer canvaAgencies

As its name implies, breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast multiply abnormally rapidly. Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of death in women over 50 years of age.


  • Change in the shape and size of the breast.
  • A mass or lump near the area.
  • The skin on or near the breast looks swollen.
  • Nipples leak blood

What causes breast cancer?

Various factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity, and hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of breast cancer.

How is it diagnosed?

  • Mammogram: This is a special x-ray test that can detect an abnormal growth in your breast.
  • Ultrasonography: use of sound waves to detect growth.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This test uses magnets and radio waves to produce clear, detailed images of the internal structures of the breast.


Partial or complete mastectomy. This surgery removes the cancerous portion of the breast. In advanced cases, both breasts are removed. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy may also be recommended.

Gastric cancer

stomach cancer canvaAgencies

Also known as stomach cancer, this cancer remains the fifth most common cancer among men and the seventh most common cancer among women in India. Cancer cells first appear in the inner lining of the stomach and then penetrate deeper.

What causes gastric cancer?

  • Rare genetic mutation.
  • Family history of stomach cancer.
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and gastritis
  • Stomach ulcers and polyps can also become cancerous.
  • Excessive indulgence in foods high in salt and fat.
  • Obesity.
  • Alcohol abuse.


  • loss of appetite
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • continuous vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Black or bloody stools.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Feeling full even if you haven’t eaten anything.


  • Surgery: In the early stages, if the cancer is limited to the outer linings of the stomach, it may be removed by surgery or by upper endoscopy.
  • Gastrectomy: Once the cancer has gotten into the deepest parts of your stomach, parts of your stomach need to be removed.
  • In addition to surgery, your health care provider may also recommend chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

National Cancer Awareness Day 2022: Prevention, Treatment and Diet

National Cancer Awareness Day 2022: Prevention, Treatment and Diet

National Cancer Awareness Day was celebrated in India on November 7 after it was announced in 2014 by Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. This day is observed to spread awareness of early detection and the cure for cancer. On this day, all government and municipal hospitals offer free cancer screening for everyone.

What causes cancer?

In a normal scenario, cells in the human body grow and multiply through a process called “cell division.” When this process takes place, old or damaged cells die and make room for new cells. However, sometimes this process is interrupted and the cells do not grow and multiply as they should. This results in the formation of tumors, which may be cancerous in nature.

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