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Is our lifestyle giving us tumours and cancers? – Firstpost


(From Archive) Israeli researcher Elam Yeni examines a microscopic image of a blood vessel tube surrounded by cancerous tissue, as part of brain cancer research that uses patients’ cells to make 3D-printed models of tumors, at Tel Aviv University, Reuters

On June 8, the world celebrates World Brain Tumor Day to raise awareness about the health risks of tumors, especially those that cause neurological problems. Not all tumors develop into cancer, but when they do, they can pose a serious threat to the patient’s life. We talked to Dr. Sonal Gupta, Senior Director and Head of Neurosurgery Department at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, on tumors and their diagnosis. Excerpts:

What is a tumor and how does it differ from a cyst and cancer?

A tumor is a solid mass of tissue caused by abnormal growth of cells. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac.

Cancer is a term that refers to tumors that invade surrounding tissues, grow rapidly and can spread to other parts of the body as well.

How does a person know that he has a tumor and it is time to see a doctor?

Signs can vary but may include unexplained pain, a lump you can feel, losing weight without trying, headaches, or changes in vision or movement. If you notice any persistent or unusual symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. CT and MRI can help detect brain tumors.

What types of tumors develop into cancers and can they be prevented from turning into malignant tumors?

Most benign or noncancerous tumors remain benign. Some tumors can turn into cancer over time. Therefore, it is necessary to diagnose and treat tumors in a timely manner.

What are some common misconceptions about tumors and how can they be treated?

Many people believe that all tumors are cancerous, but this is not true. Tumors can be treated with alternative forms of medication and will shrink with medication. These are myths and appropriate awareness programs will help spread the truth about the diagnosis and treatment of oncology.

A study last month described India as the “cancer capital of the world.” Is India’s healthcare system prepared to handle the increasing volume of cancer cases?

India faces major challenges in its healthcare system. There is no challenge in the public and private healthcare system in treating a large number of cancer patients. At the same time, access to care in government institutions, small number of insured families, etc. remains a challenge.

Does our current lifestyle contribute to more tumors and cancer, or is it just a better prognosis?

They both play a role. Unhealthy lifestyles, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and exposure to pollutants, increase the risk of cancer. At the same time, technological advances mean that more tumors are being detected earlier. Brain microsurgery techniques allow tumors to be removed with minimal impact on healthy tissue and thus maintain good brain health. Incidentally, brain health and prevention is the theme of this year’s Brain Tumor Day.

Are there tumor marker tests that can detect tumor formation at an early stage?

Yes, there are blood tests that can find specific markers associated with certain types of tumors. These tests can help detect tumors early, making treatment more effective.

How do you handle emotional and psychological support for your patients and their families?

We provide comprehensive care that includes emotional and psychological support. This includes counseling, support groups, and comprehensive care to help patients and their families cope with the stress and anxiety resulting from tumor diagnosis and treatment.

Are there alternative treatment methods available such as removing tumors without surgery?

Yes, besides surgery, there are treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapies. New methods such as cryoablation (freezing the tumor) and focused ultrasound (using sound waves to destroy the tumor) are in the experimental phase in most cancers.

How useful are new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning in making treatment less painful for patients?

New technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning improve accuracy in diagnosis, help customize treatment plans, and predict outcomes, making the treatment process smoother and less painful for patients. For example, neuronavigation in brain tumor surgery is based on artificial intelligence and allows minimally invasive microsurgery.

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