Friday, July 12, 2013

Coping with Cancer | Active Treatment

This one's for the  patients who have been diagnosed with an early stage of Cancer, or a type of Cancer that gives them very good odds of survival. These patients are under Active Treatment with the goal of complete Cure.

What are the kinds of stresses that these patients deal with?
  • The kind of stress these patients deal with is different from terminally ill patients or the ones in Palliation.
  • There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. This is exaggerated by the initial symptoms like nausea, vomiting, pain, etc, and because of the anticipated symptoms like hair-loss, changing body image, etc.
  • The initial visits to the clinic or the hospital and having to look at the other patients who look not so healthy, makes them think that this where they're headed . Whereas, their outcome could be entirely different.
  • The early phase of dealing with the diagnosis and the beginning of treatments is quite overwhelming, and depressing. Like the first shot of Radiation, or Chemotherapy, or being under the knife for the first time can be understandably difficult. Accepting the fact that this has all begun, is necessary, to be able to deal with it.
Cancer Patient
Cancer  Patient

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How to deal with Cancer ?

''You have Cancer'' if this is what your Doctor told you recently, then you're in the right place.
Or has someone you love been diagnosed with cancer? Still read on.
These are the quick 10 steps that can be followed, to make sure you're on the right track.

Dealing With Cancer

The 10 step guide to dealing with the diagnosis of Cancer :

It's perfectly natural if after hearing the diagnosis you're in denial about the situation. Give yourself some time to wrap your head around it all. It's normal to experience anger, disbelief, and feeling sad, frustrated, and like you're losing control.
But at the end of the day, you have to make sure you realize that you can deal with this.

Get the facts straight. Ask your Doctor about an honest opinion in your case. Read, browse, and use all the possible sources of information available to you, and keep a record of all that you learn. Read about all the possible treatments, all available options, and their outcomes. But keep in mind that every person is different. So, do not assume what your fate is going to be like. Get 2nd opinions. Get 3rd opinions. Learn all about your condition.
This will not only give you all the knowledge you need, but also restore your sense of control over your life.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What is Psychological distress ?

Addressing the issue of Psychological distress in Cancer patients.

  • The issue of 'Psychological distress' is often neglected and underestimated, owing to the kind of clinical set up we have now. The visits have become shorter, and there are so many people who attend one person. Patients often find it difficult to open up to so many different people every time they visit the hospital.

Distress thermometer and scale
image courtesy :

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What is Psycho-oncology?

What is Psycho-oncology?
  • Psycho-oncology is a sub-field of Oncology that deals with the psychological and psychiatric aspects in the field of Oncology. This field came into existence around 20 years ago, and has been developing since then. It started off as a study of how to deal with cancer patients, and now has its roots very deep.
 Psychology : Dramatic black and white face of a worried young man  emerging from a black background

Are there any factors that determine how a cancer patient may deal with the diagnosis?
Yes. There are 3 main factors that determine a patient's way of coping with cancer.
1. Society-derived factors
2. Patient-derived factors
3. Cancer-derived factors

1. Society-derived factors
This is HOW the society perceives Cancer. And how the people who are close to the patient, see cancer. For decades now, Cancer comes along with a social stigma of Cancer=Death. This has ofcourse changed now, but the way the society looks at cancer, directly affects the way the patient deals with it. For example, in some cultures, people believe that Cancer is contagious. And the society chooses to shun the patient, with the fear that they may acquire it too. You can only imagine how difficult that makes for the patient to deal with it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

War against Cancer | My War Cry

Who says you have to be on the battlefield to feel patriotic? Who says you have to lose someone fighting for the nation before you start to understand the gravity of a war?
We understand wars always have a winning and a losing side.It's always better to be on the winning side, which is for the obvious reasons.Because, who would wanna be on the losing end? Are we crazy ? No, we're sane people and we like to be safe. Also, we're sane people, and we like to stay in a denial. We like to think that wars don't affect us..and we'll never have to fight our own wars. Well, go ask a Cancer patient. Or a person who's lost someone to Cancer. They'll tell you that it's one hell of a war, that they only have to fight for themselves. No great man can guard their own territory or body, which is their own by right. It just gets invaded by something so small, and yet leaves behind ruins of what was once a 'fine man'
How many such fine-men have we lost to Cancer? Way too many I'd say.

Oncology : Completely bandaged man is ready to fight with clenched fists on black background

Who says you have to be a cancer patient, so that you can understand the gravity of the disease? Who says you have to lose a parent or sibling to cancer before you start becoming passionate about helping others with cancer?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cancer in the 21st century.

''Gone are those days when doctors were the only people who knew about diseases.This statement is true not only for simple flu, but also for complex cancer.In the present time, diseases exist beyond the big fat medicine books. With all the knowledge explosion on us by media, all the awareness campaigns by the governments, people are more than just aware of the diseases that exist for real. But all of this awareness and knowledge, does it really have a role to play? Are we, the so called city-people, considering getting ourselves screened and checked regularly? No.Unless of course we have visible symptoms which are hampering our lives.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What is Metastasis?

5 facts about Metastasis.

1. Definition
A tumor is said to have metastasized when it spreads from its primary site, to other nearby or distant parts of the body, via blood , lymph, etc.

2. What is the mechanism?
The tumor cells detach from the primary tumor, and enter the bloodstream via the process of angiogenesis, or spread via lymphatics.This mainly happens because the malignant cells possess certain properties, like an improper intracellular cementing substance.
mechanism of metastasis
the mechanism of metastasis via blood

What are Benign Tumors ?

5 facts about Benign Tumors

1. Definition
Benign tumor is a cell mass that does not have an invasive potential or the capacity to spread.

2. Characteristics
  • they show a limited growth. 
  • the cells are not anaplasitc. They still resemble the parent cells and have not undergone complete dis-figuration.
  • the cells divide more than normal cells do, but this process slows down and stops in a certain amount of time.
  • these cells are always confined in a capsule or fibrous tissue, which has a distinctive border and shape.
  • these cells lack the ability to spread to neighboring tissues.

benign tumor
a benign tumor in the fibrous capsule