B-Cancer and T-Cancer

We all have heard about blood cancer and lung cancer. But, ever since I came to know that my close friend Lai has “nose cancer”; I have been discussing with friends and I came to know about forms of cancer I had never heard about – cancer in the knee-cap, in the esophagus.

Another very prevalent form of cancer about which awareness is only recently increasing is breast cancer. In the past five years, I have known of about eight women who have lost their lives to B-cancer. All Indian, most of them middle-aged. I always used to hold our culture and women's attitudes responsible in equal measure for this. Its not only about awareness. Its also about the social outlook towards the problem. We Indians being notoriously conservative in all these (often wrong) matters; the problem is only compounded. People (both women and their husbands) shying away from consulting doctors; and self-examination being either unheard of, or worse – people having partial and wrong information about self-examination. After all, its our great culture, I used to think, where even using the B-word is taboo (if you haven't noticed, I'm even using “B-word” .. instead of .. well .. the B-word) – let alone getting oneself examined for cancer.

But that was before a friend told me about yet another form of the disease – testicular cancer. A few days after I came to know about this, I was also pointed to former World cycling champion Lance Amstrong's story (he has survived T-cancer to become the world champion).

And now that I know about T-Cancer, I no longer blame women or culture or society for the prevalence of B-Cancer. Suddenly, I understand the hesitation, the shame, the shyness that women must be going through when faced with the prospect of an examination. I understand it is not only about the examination itself – it is also about how to face society. Which also explains the hesitation to consult even lady doctors.

However; shame, shyness, culture – none of these justify neglecting or concealing the disease, whether B-Cancer or T-Cancer. It is a matter of life or death, for God's sake! I feel that the awareness (at least regarding B-Cancer) is spreading these days – which is definitely a good thing. All we need now is a change in societal outlook towards these killers – an outlook which strongly discourages young men and women from ignoring these diseases.

On a closing note, I think we should put the internet to good use in such matters. Information regarding self-examinations for various forms of cancer is available on the internet; including videos (for example on sites like videojug). These can be used to make the youngsters more aware of these issues; which would help them take preventive measures.

Looking forward to a society which values human life more than it does shame! JAI BHARAT.

5 comments to B-Cancer and T-Cancer

  • That's a fair point you raised. One of my friends had to work on a project on B-cancer in his organization, and he couldn't even get himself to say the B-word.

    However, after finishing the project, he is quite happy with the work he got, and the difference it made to women suffering from breast cancer.

  • Am happy you are raising this point here.Breast Cancer is slowly becoming the number one cause of death in Indian females from cancer.Another cancer we need to make people aware is Cancer of the cervix(the female reproductive tract) This cancer leads as the number one cancer amongst Indian women.Same old problems..lack of awareness, embarrassment in approaching a doc etc.Testicular cancer is much more common than we think.As the younger generation and as students of science its our duty to spread the awareness to people around us as and when we get the opportunity."Each one teach one", can work wonders here.

  • I know what it means to be suffering from this dreadful disease.My small niece is suffering and I see the problems.

  • @Sumit: I think your friend should be proud of himself - not everyone gets to make a difference!

    @Bambi: Gosh! The statistics you provided make me shudder! I knew of one or two cases of cervical cancer; but I had no idea that it leads as the cancer among Indian women!

    You are absolutely right - as torch-bearers of Science; it is our responsibility to spread awareness. Just look at the irony - I consider myself well-informed and an "aware" person; yet I did not even know that there exists something called testicular cancer, let alone the fact that it is more common than one might be led to believe!

    I do like your "each one, teach one" idea. I think awareness of these diseases should go in parallel with sex education; which obviously rules out the role of schools and teachers (after all the tamasha that we saw in few states on this topic recently). It also sort of makes the role of parents a bit more ... awkward. I think friends are the best medium to raise awareness about this. Come to think of it - if friends can comfortably "spread" porn material among each other; why not spread this kind of awareness too?

    @BKChowla: I really feel for your niece. My best wishes for her complete recovery. You are sure to find articles from women who survived breast cancer and went ahead to lead normal lives. These might be a source of inspiration for your niece.

  • N to think that u wrote this post a day before yet another celebrity succumbed to cancer.

    Over the last 2 days hubby n I were discussing that its shocking how since the last 5 yrs the num of deaths due to cancer has increased so much…infact all the “deadly” diseases on which there is much to be researched are suddenly killing more n more ppl. Its scary. U keep getting forwards abt how doing x,y,z in a,b,c manner can cause cancer or tumor or whatever.

    How much of precaution can one take? How many of these emails have true information? Does talking on the fone for long really cause brain tumor? Do wired bras actually cause breast cancer? God knows!

    Any of us..can be the next victim. Its sad. Very young ppl are dying.

    N just this morning I saw on the news that pancreatic cancer is observed more among African-americans than whites. N no one knows why!

    Hope Lai is getting better. My Good wishes to him!

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