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World Cancer Day: ‘Early diagnosis key to treating disease’

By Our Reporter Updated: Feb 04, 2020 11:05 pm

Our Reporter
Dimapur, Feb. 4 (EMN):
Nagaland on Tuesday joined the global community in observing World Cancer Day, on the theme ‘I can and I will’.  World Cancer Day is an occasion to spread awareness and educate people about the disease and how it can be prevented.

Talking to Eastern Mirror, the MD and Consultant of the Department of Radiation Oncology of Eden Medical Centre in Dimapur, Dr. Aoakhum Kichu stressed on the importance of early diagnosis, stating that almost all the cancer diseases can be cured with proper treatment at the right time. He added, “The earlier the diagnosis, the better it is for the treatment process.”

“We can take a look at a stage-I disease with that of a stage-III disease; almost all stage-I diseases are curable and that higher the stage, the lesser the chance for a cure,” Kichu said.

Speaking about the mental trauma of a cancer patient, Kichu said that patients ‘take a u-turn in their lives from the point of being diagnosed’.  

He said that every cancer patient goes through the trauma of physical pain, psychological pain like anxiety and depression and suicidal thoughts.

“Their priority and their thinking changes and it is not only just the patients but also the whole family that are affected by this,” said Kichu.

On the myths and misconception concerning cancer in Naga society, he said that many people think it is communicable, which is not the case. He also pointed out that people doubt the form of therapy they give, especially radiation and chemotherapy.

Kichu disclosed that there were cases where patients came for medications at early stages but chose ‘other means’ of medication halfway through the treatment process. Ultimately, they came back to the hospital at the final stage.

Explaining the lack of awareness, he said that many a time people opt not to take treatment because they believe that once he/she is diagnosed with cancer, there is no point in spending huge amount of money all for ‘mere treatment’.

Maintaining that cancer treatment is a long and hard process, requiring a huge amount of money, Kichu emphasised on emotion, that it is the family and the close ones that have to really stand up in providing care and love. He stressed that a patient undergoing treatment, need constant and full support from the loved ones physically, mentally and spiritually.

HOD Family Medicine, Pain and Palliative Care Department, CIHSR, Dr. Nepuni Athikho also addressed some of the reasons why early diagnosis of cancer was difficult in Nagaland.

He pointed out that the lack of awareness of early symptoms and signs of cancer among the general population were the main reasons why most cancer patients cannot be diagnosed in the early stages in Nagaland. 

He said that the stoic nature of our people was another factor resulting in late treatment unless it hurts beyond tolerance since most of the forms of cancers are painless or cause little symptoms in the early stages.

However, from the medical perceptive, he said that the lack of diagnostic facilities in district-level hospitals was also another reason resulting in difficulty of early diagnosis.

By Our Reporter Updated: Feb 04, 2020 11:05:08 pm