Hyderabad: More and more younger people, in the age group of 30 to 45 years, are developing and dying of cancer, said oncologists ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4. The trend has made oncologists look at those who have had the same aggressive cancers, but battled them and survived. Thus, apart from drug therapy, a positive attitude and will power are being advocated by oncologists to fight cancer.
In India, the incidence of cancer continues to be high with seven lakh people dying every year. The burden of the disease is 8 per cent in the world and there are 82 lakh people dying every year in 184 countries of the world. Estimates show that 40 lakh are dying much earlier and this has made oncologists look into why some survive while others do not. Oncologist Dr Amit Jotwani explained, “There are more and more young people getting affected, but their recovery rate is not as good compared to others. We find that they need to be strongly motivated to fight the disease.
The theory of positive attitude and will power stems from the fact that there are many who respond well to treatment if they are strong from within. The brain releases hormones that help the immune system fight the cancer cells. Such patients recover very well. There have been studies in the West where those who ‘smile’ and fight cancer have shown better results than those who are ‘scared’ and become completely helpless.”
For this reason, a specialty of psycho-oncology is being looked into where the psychosomatic behaviour can give the oncologists an insight into the treatment model. Dr T.S. Rao said, “This is one of the reasons that cancer survivors are now being called back by hospitals to motivate new patients and give them a hands-on experience to fight the disease. A normal counselor will not be able to effectively explain the agony.”
47-yr-old battles, survives cancer twice in 10 years
A 47-year-old patient in the United States battled cancer not once, but twice. The patient was identified with cancer in the intestines in 1997. He underwent aggressive treatment and recovered. But in 2008, he was found to be suffering from cancer in the rectum. He fought that too and is now stated to be cancer free.
While the battle was tough, he was not one to give up. Willing to fight it out the second time, the patient was very co-operative and apart from his doctors’ advice, he also tried to learn more about the disease. It was his constant struggle that helped him to recover. Now at the age of 64, he has been declared “free of cancer.”