The Companies Act 2013 aims to mandate companies to spend 2% of their profit for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). There are various categories under which we conduct CSR activities.
Cancer Awareness is one among them.
What is cancer?
In simple terms, cancer is an irregular growth of body cells. Each one of us is born among a potential for cancer. One cannot "Get" it as one would an infection or a cold. While the programming of a cell or a group of cells is affected, growth may mature uncontrolled. Some of the factors that can change the code are chronic irritation, tobacco, smoke and dust, radioactive substances, age, sex, species and genetics. While one cannot regulate many of these factors , we need to be aware of the ones we can control of. Prevention is clearly better than the treatment of cancer. No one yet talks of remedy, treatment:
What is the difference between normal and malignant cells?
Normal cells develop in a well-regulated pattern. When cancer sets in, a group of cells suddenly starts multiplying in a random and uncontrolled way, creating lumps or tumours. A malignant tumour never stops growing and can grow to other parts of the body.
Broadly, there are many types of cancers. Some are as given below.
- Cancer of Bladder. This is a slow-growing cancer and reacts well to treatment. Tobacco and chronic irritation are top causes. House Painters, hair dressers, truck drivers, textile workers and printers are at a risk due to the elements they are constantly in touch. Blood in urine and painful passing of urine are indications to beware.
- Breast Cancer. Women who have menstruated early, with delayed or no pregnancies, late menopause, who have not breastfed their babies, are particularly at jeopardy. If there is a family history of cancer - your mother, sister, massi or naani - please treat it as an early alert sign. Study and practice Breast Self-Examination, and have Mammograms as prescribed by your gynaecologist. Evaluate diet too, too much of fat in your diet is a definite culprit. Selenium seen in the soft bones of the fish, as well as whole-grain protect against breast cancer. Exercise on a daily basis.
- Cervical Cancer. This is the most typical of women's cancer found in India. This is a slow growing cancer that can easily be identified by a Pap smear. Not all Dysplasia become cancerous, women who menstruate early, wed early, have many sex partners, many children and bad anti-natal care, as well as poor genital hygiene, are expected to get this cancer. Intake of vitamin A and C and B folate are good as preventives. Intake of tobacco improves the chances of getting this cancer by 50%
- A PERSISTENT SORE especially if it is in the jaws, on the lip or on the tongue. Long-standing wounds due to smoking, sharp edge of teeth, or dental plates that do not fit, can grow into cancer if not taken care of. Common 'Cold Sore' leaves after a few days - Cancer does not. If any such sore continues more than a few days, see your doctor.
- LUMPS OR MASSES which surface where none were present previously should arouse suspicion of cancer. This is especially true in the case of women and is the most readily remedied if treated early.
- UNEXPLAINED OR ABNORMAL BLEEDING FROM ANY BODY OPENING should be quickly examined by a physician. Coughing up or vomiting blood, passing blood in the urine and rectal bleeding are common traits of cancer. In women, the first symptom of cancer of the uterus is often a bloody discharge happening during menstrual periods or following menopause.
- PERSISTENT INDIGESTION OR CHANGE IN BOWEL HABITS, while usually due to other reasons, are often made in the intestinal tract and should be reported.
- PERSISTENT HOARSENESS OR COUGH of abnormal duration warrants a careful examination by your doctor. Cancer of the larynx (voice box) or respiratory passages or lung would be the cause.
- UNEXPLAINED LOSS OF WEIGHT may be due to many things but may also be due to latent cancer
What causes cancer?
Though it is very tough to pinpoint the definite cause. Certain substances, known as carcinogens, can surely increase your chances of getting cancer. For instance, people who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to mouth, throat and lung cancer, Contrary to popular opinion, beedi smoking is twice as hazardous as cigarettes. Continued inflammation of tissues can lead to cancer. Pollution, processed food, smoked and junk food are also contributory. Even certain viruses can create cancer (EBV, Hepatitis B, HPV). Amongst additional known causes are asbestos, arsenic, pitch, tar, ultra-violet rays.
In India, the proportion of cancer is increasing rapidly; therefore it is important to step up cancer education and knowledge amongst the population. We anticipate that this will lead to early detection which is important in the management and treatment of cancer and also prevention by addressing necessary changes in lifestyle.
- Breast cancer is rapidly growing amongst women in urban areas and it is the most common cancer in India. Early discovery is essential in its management and treatment. Due to illiteracy, fear, and social stigma several women present with stage III or IV cancer which requires surgery and intensive treatment. If detected early, then in most cases there will be less vigorous treatment and better chances of recovery.
- Cervical cancer is the second most regular cancer among women in India. It is the only preventable cancer and it can be detected in the pre-cancerous phase and cured.
- Oral and Lung cancers are highest among men and women in the urban as well as rural population and these can also be prevented to a large extent. Therefore, making people aware of the risks of chewing tobacco and smoking is of great importance.
- Leading an active life, combined with healthy food habits is vital to good health.
Objectives of the Cancer Awareness Program:
- Create cancer awareness and eliminate the stigma and fear attached.
- Help people identify the early signs and symptoms of cancer, thus enabling them to explore treatment at an early stage.
- Instruct people about the key risk factors, as more than 30% of cancer cases could be prevented by changing lifestyle or avoiding the risk factors.
- Inform people about the importance of routine Screening and check-ups.
- Inform women regarding Mammograms, Clinical Breast exam and Breast Self-exam.
- Inform women about Pap smear tests to monitor for signs of cervical cancer.
- The primary goal of ICS is to raise and develop awareness in the public and highlight the importance of early detection, all of which play a significant role in the treatment of cancer. Cancer awareness can also influence people to make healthier lifestyle choices.