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A Duel with the Devil

Every house is built with the foundations of bricks, but imagine, what if those bricks slowly start to wither away? What will be the result then? The house will crumble down to pieces, won’t it? Cancer does the same with our bodies. Cancer destroys the very basic foundation of human body and slowly destroys each and every part of it. Remember cancer being called a rare disease? NO? Absolutely! Cancer has become so mainstream in our everyday life that gone are the days, when cancer was referred as a ‘rare disease’. Cancer is fast spreading into our modern world, and every expert medical research team is hellbent on finding a cure for it. Given the complexities of cancer, and its medical terminologies, lets simplify it and take a peek into it.
As per the data available in 2019, 176,2450 new cancer cases and 606,880 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States alone.  There was a continuous drop from 1991 to 2016 by a total of 27%, translating into approximately 262,9200 fewer cases than would have been expected if death rates had been steady. 33% of cancer cases are linked to smoking and exposure to tobacco, smoke, and other carcinogenic elements. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that one in five men and one in six women worldwide will develop cancer over the course of their lifetime and one in eight men and one in eleven women will die from the disease.
Cancer is a wide term and it mostly includes more than 100 different diseases each characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells, which results from a chain of multiple genetic changes causing a loss of typical growth controls, and metastasis. Cancer can be of two types, it can either be ‘malignant’ or ‘benign’. Malignant implies cancer spreading to the other body parts and benign means that cancer which is localized to a particular body part. Benign Cancer is less feared and is easy to cure, while malignant requires more aggressive and in time treatment.
It is stated that cancer develops in older people who are above the age of 55 or older and it is also found that 80% of cancer is diagnosed in older people. Smoking, drinking alcohol, having excess body weight and family history are among the most important factors in causing cancer. Every human has genetic material which is called as DNA and is expressed in the form of genes. When gene mutation occurs, cells undergo unchecked, repeated and abnormal cell divisions give rise to cancer. Approximately, 39 out of 100 men and 38 out of 100 women will likely be diagnosed with cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Cancer risks increases with the increase in age, which is found to be similar in both men and women. The most commonly diagnosed cancers are lung, prostate, and urinary bladder in older men and breast, colorectal, and lung in older women.
Contrary to the common belief, cancer is curable and cancer does not necessarily mean death. The types and stages of cancer decide the future of the patient as the treatment demands a lot of effort on the part of the patient as well as the doctor. Cancer is curable, but the struggle needs to be doubled and the commitment should be unbreakable as there are wide variety of drugs available to cure cancer. The most commonly known is the cancer chemotherapy which has different approaches to the treatment. The stage of cancer decides, if the patient requires chemotherapy or drugs. Cancer is treated best if it is diagnosed early.
It is always said that prevention is better than cure, and in the case of cancer this has never been more true. To reduce the risk of cancer, an individual should refrain from using tobacco and cigarettes. Cigarettes smoke contains around 70 known carcinogens and over 4000 chemicals, which can cause, initiate or promote cancer. Modern lifestyle has created sedentary lifestyle for humans, as there is very less physical activity. It is estimated that, around 3% of cancer cases can be attributed to physical inactivity. There is enough evidence that physical activity decreases the risk of colon cancer (not rectal cancer), and probably also decreases risk of endometrial and postmenopausal breast cancer. Evidence also gives hints that physical activity may also reduce the risk of other cancer including esophageal, liver, and menopausal breast cancer.
Eating healthy and nutritious food also reduces the risk of cancer. Approximately 4% to 5% of all cancer cases and deaths can be attributed to dietary intake. Healthy dietary habits and regular physical activity are both important for maintaining a healthy body weight and reducing the risk of cancer. One study also found out that healthiest diets have an 11%-24% lower risk of cancer death than those with the least healthy diet. Practicing safe sex and getting immunized from HPV and Hepatitis can also lower the risk of cancer.
Today cancer accounts for about 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide, which is more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. About 20% of cancer cases have been reported from developing and under developing countries, many of which lack the required funds and the medical research to counter cancer. It is estimated that by 2040, the global cancer patients is expected to reach, 27.5 million new cases and 16.3 million cancer deaths solely due to the growth and aging of the population.
To counter cancer, governments should make cancer a political and public health priority. Non Communicable diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and diabetes account for 70% of the worlds deaths. Various organizations such as the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the United Nations Development Program, should stress on governments to make cancer a public health prerogative. The most important thing for cancer patients is that they need support as the treatment can take years and years to complete. They are in constant need of encouragement from their friends and family. They must not be shunned and the society should take a more proactive approach in rehabilitating cancer patients. Cancer is deadly disease, with proper medication and strong will, this deadly disease can be won over and person can live a healthy and peaceful life. As it is rightly said, Fight the fight, Find the Cure!