Associate Professor, Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics. UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Shubham Pant is Associate Professor of Medicine & Director of Clinical Trials, Hematology/Oncology Section of the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City. He has a keen interest in health policy and is committed to a healthy, fit lifestyle.
Time stopped for Dr. Oliver Bogler. For three months he'd felt and ignored a lump in his chest. The thought of breast cancer had crossed his mind, but was quickly dismissed. After all, he was a 46-year-old man. He attributed it to gynaecomastia (a non-cancerous lump in the breast). However as the lump persisted, he saw a physician who recommended further testing. A mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy later his worst fears were confirmed when his doctor uttered the life altering words: "This does not look good."
High-calorie foods that may not be ideal when healthy may be exactly what the doctor ordered when one is undergoing cancer therapy. In this scenario snacking can provide those extra calories required to rebuild the body, prevent weight loss and increase energy levels. Indian cuisine can come to your rescue as it incorporates tasty snacking options that can be used to supplement the main meals of the day.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines for a healthy diet mimic what is easily achievable as a part of an Indian diet. Recommendations emphasise plant-based foods with at least two-and-a-half cups of vegetable and fruits daily while limiting the intake of red meat (pork, lamb) or processed meats (hot dogs, sausages). The "good" news is that traditional Indian diets already incorporate the elements that the ACS recommends, a plant-based diet that is fibre rich.
Not long ago having a physician in the family was a source of significant pride and this tradition was passed down generations. Now, some physicians are actively discouraging their children from a future in medicine.
India performs poorly on healthcare, ranking even below Bangladesh and Nepal with public spending on health amongst the lowest in the world. "BJP accords high priority to health sector, which is crucial for securing the economy" stated the manifesto for the 2014 general elections. However, instead of increasing spending on healthcare, the government slashed nearly 20% (or 948 million dollars) from the 2014-2015 healthcare budget.
These tests are often used in clinical practice the world over though they have not shown to improve survival. Other than the cost, these scans can lead further unnecessary tests like biopsies and can also result in increased radiation exposure.
Being a practicing oncologist, I am frequently asked about causes of breast cancer. While there are a number of legitimate risk factors for cancer, the web is overrun with unsubstantiated claims backed by minimal or poor quality research. Here are a few myths I have encountered about breast cancer.