Celebrating resilience of cancer survivors

Annually observed on the first Sunday of June, National Cancer Survivor’s Day brings attention to the resilience of the battle against the disease.
Representative Image
Representative Image

VIJAYAWADA: Often overlooked or misdiagnosed, several types of cancers, including ovarian, uterine, cervical and breast cancers, affect women, highlighting the immediate need for awareness among the people. Recognising possible symptoms and consulting a specialist is essential, as these cancers often occur after menopause but can affect women of all ages. National Cancer Survivors Day is observed every year on the first Sunday of June. This year, it falls on June 2, bringing attention to the resilience of cancer survivors and the battle against cancer.

Amulya Chandu, a cancer survivor from Suryapet in Vijayawada and a noted Telugu poet, shared her experience with TNIE and said what started as a pinning pain in her chest, has turned into frequent cough, severe headaches and indigestion. “I ignored it in the beginning, but as the pain got intense, I approached the doctor and was diagnosed with second-stage breast cancer, creating tremors in my family. However, after getting admitted in NRI Hospital, the story of a five-year-old fighting cancer in the same hospital gave me the courage to face the illness,” she said. After surgery, with the support of family and regular medication, Amulya walked out of the hospital and is currently working with a news channel. Her poetic collection, ‘Onti Rommu Talli’, explains how Amulya battled against cancer.

Dr R Dinesh Reddy, Associate Consultant in Surgical Oncology and Robotic Surgery, notes that unexplained weight loss, while beneficial through exercise and a proper diet, can be concerning without lifestyle changes. “Intense fatigue that affects daily functioning should also be checked. Changes in appetite, such as never feeling hungry, could indicate ovarian cancer, while changes in skin colour, texture, new moles, or sores warrant attention. Continuous pain in the pelvis and abdomen, along with gas, indigestion, bloating, and persistent nausea, needs to be checked,” he added.

Frequent urination or constant pressure on the bladder could indicate ovarian, uterine, or bladder cancer, he explained and said drastic changes in bowel habits and changes in the breasts, including nipple discharge, lumps, skin discoloration, lesions, or abnormalities in the nipples, should not be ignored. “If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice for proper evaluation and diagnosis,” advises Dr Reddy.

In addition to early detection, advancements in treatment have significantly improved cancer care. On the treatment front, immunotherapy has emerged as a powerful tool in combating cancer, particularly in its early stages.

Dr Sravan Kumar Bodepudi, consultant in Medical Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, told TNIE, “Normally, immune cells can track down tumour cells and halt their growth, but in cancer, tumour cells have mutations and altered surface proteins that enable them to evade the immune system’s attacks.”

By enhancing immune cell function, immunotherapy can suppress the growth of tumours, he informed and added that it can be used alongside radiotherapy or chemotherapy, or as an option if other therapies are not as effective. The efficacy of the therapy is assessed through regular scans and evaluations, the doctor said.

Doctors explain that abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, heavier than usual periods, bleeding during or after sex, unusual spotting after menopause, or vaginal discharge with blood spots, could indicate vaginal or cervical cancer but might also suggest an infection.

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