Gen Z: Spare a moment to talk about cancer
The youth can play an important role in cancer control. Here’s how
By Dr K Ramadas, Director – Clinical Operations and Allied services, Karkinos Healthcare
Did you know that cancer is largely a preventable disease? Unless genetically inherited, the way you eat and live can influence your predisposition to this grievous disease.
What if I told you that some lifestyle habits can put you and your near and dear ones at tremendous risk of cancer? For example, excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products can cause cancer. Also, recent studies have proved that consuming red meat, food items loaded with trans-fat, salt, and sugar regularly, obesity and lack of physical activity can cause cancer.
But worry not. These days, technology and medicine have progressed to a great extent where cancer risk assessment and screening can be done at a very early age, that too, in the comfort of your home.
I am sure you trust the phrase: ‘prevention is better than cure’. It is always best to keep moderation as your mantra for healthy living. Consuming a balanced diet, exercising regularly and refraining from alcohol and tobacco can keep you rock fit for many years.
Another smart way to keep cancer away is to be constantly aware of the slightest change in your body. Examine yourself, periodically for any lumps, sores, wounds that increase in size or don’t heal for long, changes in voice/vision, swollen gums, unexplained weight loss or anything that seems unusual.
If you notice something, report it to your parents or consult a physician at the earliest. Remember, early cancer detection has successful treatment outcomes. It is also important to converse openly about early cancer detection with your family members. You can educate them on warning signs, healthy lifestyle habits, undertaking periodic health check-ups and participating in screening programmes.
If any of your family members smoke or drink, you could enrol them for a head and neck, oral cancer screening. You could also take your female relatives for periodic screening for breast, cervical and cancers.
Since access to smartphones and browsing the internet is easy, you could read and understand about cancer on medically authorised, legitimate websites. If you look up on social media, there will be influencers who send out the right messages on cancer prevention and help create awareness. You could also opt to be an influencer among your friends, families, or your housing communities. Motivate them to lead a healthy life.
If any of your family members are suffering from cancer, you could be there for them. During their doctor visits, you could accompany them. Spend quality time with them, offering emotional support. You could even run a few errands for them. Remember cancer patients go through emotional turmoil during their sickness. Unconditional love and care mean a lot to them.
Did you know that cervical cancer can be prevented by taking 2 doses of vaccine by girls between the age of 9 and 15 years? Talk to your physician to know more about HPV testing and cervical cancer preventive vaccines.
So, take charge of your health. The onus is on you and the entire Gen-Z to make this world a better place to live in and at the same time quell cancer to lead a healthy life.
ABOUT Dr. K. RAMDAS
Dr. Ramadas, a radiation oncologist completed his post-graduation at Christian Medical College, Vellore. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and received PhD in Radiation Oncology from the Kerala University. He completed 31 years of service at Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram and retired as Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology.
Dr. Ramadas, served as Medical Superintendent and later as Additional Director of RCC for 9 years. During this tenure he created a patient and staff friendly environment in RCC, Thiruvananthapuram . He lead his team in getting NABH accreditation for RCC, which was the first comprehensive cancer hospital to receive this accreditation in the public sector. Dr. Ramadas has over 100 publications to his credit and got an Indian patent for developing an ayurvedic mouthwash.
The article first appeared in the digital edition of New Indian Express: https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2023/feb/07/gen-z-spare-a-moment-to-talk-about-cancer-2544957.html