|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 58-60
Cancer can be conquered
Ex-Faculty, Humanities Department, Assam Engineering Institute, Guwahati, Assam, India
|Date of Web Publication||15-Jun-2022|
Dr. Mukuta Goswami
Assam Engineering Institute, Guwahati, Assam
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Goswami M. Cancer can be conquered. Ann Oncol Res Ther 2022;2:58-60
Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases suffered by human. This disease may occur in any organ or part of the human body. Early detection of cancer is very important for effective treatment. The fatality rate is higher in cases when the detection of the disease is late. Medical scientists from all over the world are busy in laboratories to find a final remedy for cancer, which is yet to be determined. Hence, general awareness, screening tests, and preventive measures are very important to reduce the chances of occurrence of this disease. Cancer may occur to anybody, rich or poor, irrespective of age, sex, profession, or religion. Factors responsible for the occurrence of different types of cancer have been found out by researchers, but the list is not conclusive. Thanks to the continuous hard work of medical researchers for decades, many medicines, tools and machineries, and system of treatments have been invented with the help of which it is now possible to give effective treatment to a patient. Although cancer is stated to be an incurable disease, some types of cancer, if detected early, can be cured with these inventions.
The incidence of cancer in the state of Assam, India including other northeastern states, is very high. The reason behind this is not yet known. There are certain factors which are beyond the control of one individual such as environmental pollution, presence of pollutants in drinking water sources, application of pesticides, and other harmful elements in vegetables, fruits, and other edibles sold in the market, genetic transmission of disease, etc., Under such state of affairs, one should try one's best to enhance their immune system to prevent the occurrence of the disease and avoid the consumption of carcinogenic items. The declaration of cancer, a person stuns the family and creates a lot of anxiety. However, one should not get panicked. Instead, one should get ready for a long battle with the disease. Here, let me share my experiences with the disease and its treatment.
Fifteen years back from now, in the year 2007, I was frequently suffering from stomach trouble. I was in my mid 40's and my gall bladder was removed earlier. Initially, I did not take much notice as diarrhea was common in my case. I took some homeopathic medicine but got no relief and gradually, the problems became acute accompanied by some other complications such as swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), acidity, etc. Noticing these symptoms, I was alarmed and hence consulted one specialist doctor. I was advised to undergo some pathological tests and endoscopy. The endoscopy revealed the existence of a tumor in my food pipe (middle esophagus). I was very depressed to know the fact that it happened to me despite not having any bad habits such as consumption of tobacco, betel nut, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, etc. Anyway, I prepared myself for the final diagnosis through histopathological test. At the advice of one of my neighbors as well as a friend, I visited “Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati” and registered myself as an outdoor patient on May 5, 2007. I submitted two samples of tissue from my tumor extracted by endoscopy for the histopathological test. This test takes 4–5 days. In the meantime, some other tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, ultrasonography, routine blood tests, etc., were administered. Histopathological test confirmed my tumor as malignant.
My suspicion for the last 1 month proved to be true and although concerned, I was not surprised. I was neither nervous nor lost my patience. I got ready for a long fight with a positive mindset. However, the declaration of cancer to me caused much worry to my relatives and well-wishers and most of them strongly advised me to go for treatment outside the state. However, I followed the advice of the doctors of BBCI. They arranged a teleconsultation (video conference) with the doctors of Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai for my satisfaction. This facility was available in BBCI. A team of doctors of TMH, Mumbai headed by Dr. R. C. Mistry conducted a discussion with the doctors of BBCI in my presence. There, it was decided that two cycles of induction chemotherapy in an interval of 21 days should be administered to me and then assessed again for further course of action.
Accordingly, on May 11, 2007, I was admitted to BBCI as indoor patient. I bought the medicines for chemotherapy from the pharmacy of the hospital and handed to the nurses on duty. It took 4 days to complete the first cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. On May 14, 2007, I was released from the hospital. During these 10 days in the hospital as outdoor and indoor patient, my experience was very satisfactory. I found that the doctors of various departments were very experienced, the paramedical staff was very efficient, and the office staff too was very sincere.
Chemotherapy causes some side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting tendency, temporary hair loss, etc., I recovered from these reactions early and started attending my classes too. After chemotherapy, the immune system of the body remains temporarily weak. Hence, I took the necessary precautions to prevent infection from other diseases.
After 21 days, on 4th June, I was again admitted into BBCI for the second cycle of chemotherapy. Before that, necessary (blood) tests were done. On 7th June, I was released from BBCI. I felt much better after these two cycles of chemotherapy. On being released from the hospital, I returned home driving the car myself. Self-confidence, willpower, and positive thinking have an important role in recovering from a disease or to overcome a trouble.
Fourteen days later, CT scan and endoscopy revealed that the tumor is almost gone. It gave immense pleasure to my doctors in BBCI and much relief to me. A second teleconsultation with the doctors of TMH was arranged for further course of action to manage my disease. The doctors suggested two alternatives – Radiation or Surgery. I opted for surgery without a second thought.
In those days, 15 years back from now, in comparison to BBCI, TMH, Mumbai was better equipped for a major surgery. Hence, I moved to that hospital during the semester-end vacation of my college in July 2007. It is a huge hospital providing cancer treatment to scores of patients from across the country and from abroad as well. I got registered as outdoor patient in the hospital and a series of tests were done as a preparation for the surgery. As I was in consultation with this hospital for the last 2 months and was referred by BBCI, it took only 7 days to admit me for surgery. I was then admitted as indoor patient of the hospital and the surgery was performed by a team of doctors in the Thoracic Department led by Prof. Dr. R. C. Mistry. It was a major surgery in which my diseased food pipe was removed and the stomach was pulled up to connect to the mouth. Two days later, I was informed by the visiting doctors in the cabin that the surgery was performed as planned and was successful. After the postsurgery treatments, I was released from the hospital. The final histopathological test of my extracted food tube found no trace of cancer cells anywhere (pTXN0M0). It was a great relief for me. In fact, my treatment at BBCI had already eliminated the disease completely. The surgery only helped to prevent the recurrence of the disease in the same place. Regardless, for the next 5 years, I visited TMH biannually for follow-ups. During my treatment and follow-ups, I took shelter in Assam Bhawan, Mumbai. It is a great service of the government of Assam to cancer patients of the state. From 2012 onward, I have been attending BBCI outpatient department annually, for follow-ups. I have retired from government service in January 2021 and have been living a normal life without much trouble. I go for long drive (500 km in a single day) twice or thrice in a year and do other light physical labor without any difficulty. However, I cannot lift heavy loads now.
Cancer treatment facility in our state is gradually increasing and BBCI is prominent among them. Presently, BBCI is one of the best cancer hospitals in the country with almost all the modern amenities providing treatments to scores of patients of the country in general and northeast India in particular. It is not only a hospital but also an institution providing medical education and training in some specialties and undertaking cancer research. In addition to that, it plays a major role in society to create mass awareness to prevent the occurrence of cancer, and for early detection.
It is true that the risk of occurrence of cancer is present in every person. However, it can be prevented by adopting appropriate measures. It is said that “prevention is better than cure.” It is a proven truth that tobacco products in any form multiply the chances of occurrence of cancer. Hence, one must avoid the use of such things. It is also said that “cancer can be cured if detected early.” One should carefully undergo regular health checkups if any such symptom shows in. We can prevent the disease with the help of our proper lifestyle, healthy food habits, and regular physical and mental exercises. I personally believe that the practice of yoga, pranayama, and meditation are helpful for our physical and mental health. Freehand exercise for half an hour and regular walking is very good for health. Tension and anxiety are the causes of many diseases. Meditation helps to calm our mind from disturbances.
It is a misconception that “cancer has no answer.” It can be effectively treated and cured. Of course, one will require the necessary funds and one or two attendants. At present, there are a number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in our state who help needy cancer patients. “Deepsikha” is one such NGO serving cancer patients in the country. Extensive research is going on all over the world to find a final solution to this disease. Let us hope that a solution will come out in this century.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.