This Year’s World Cancer Day (2020) Theme is: I Am and I will.
World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), on
4 February 2000. Each year hundreds of activities and events take place around the world
to raise worldwide awareness, improve education and collect government action.
We had an interview with Dr. Fatemeh Varshoee, Medical Director of Reza Radiotherapy and
Oncology Center (RROC) and Radiation Oncologist at RROC, which is affiliated with
Mashhad Cancer Charity (MCC). At the beginning of the interview, she explained that cancer is
the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body which divide and spread rapidly to other
part of the body and damage normal cells. She added that there are many possible reasons to cause
cancer, but unfortunately most of them have not been recognized until now.
What is screening?
Medical Director of RROC defined screening as certain diagnostic tests to detect cancer before
a person has any symptoms and continued that screening helps find and detect specific types
of cancer at an early stage. She added that the negative result of screening makes people sure
about the health of the body. While in the situation that screening test result appears to be
abnormal, it is usually needed to be checked out through additional tests. When the
complementary tests confirm cancer, treatment is hopeful because cancer is found early and
the chance of cure is high. The purpose of screening is early detection and treatment. As a
result, the process of treatment becomes easier and more effective and reduces the chance of dying
from that cancer and ensures survival.
Causes of Cancer
Regarding the causes of cancer, Dr. Varshoee said that cancers can be caused by a number of
different factors. The most common risk factors for cancer include aging, tobacco, sun
exposure, radiation exposure, chemicals, and other substances, some viruses and bacteria,
certain hormones, family history of cancer, alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity, or being
Warning Signs of Cancer
Dr. Varshoee stated that detecting cancer early is one of the most powerful ways to save lives.
There are so many types of cancers with different symptoms. Yet, there are common signs and
symptoms of cancer. But experiencing any signs and symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean
having cancer. She emphasized that if people experience any warning signs, they should visit
medical doctors in order to be examined.
She mentioned the cancer signs and symptoms as unusual lumps or swallowing; persistent
coughing, breathlessness or difficulty swallowing; change in bowel habits or blood found in
stool; needing to urinate; unexpected bleeding from vagina or anal passage; unexplained or
unintentional weight loss over a short period; fatigue and extreme tiredness; a new mole or
change to a mole in terms of size, shape or color; unexplained or ongoing pain; feeling less
hungry than usual for a prolonged period; and heavy night sweats.
According to Medical Director of RROC, cancers including breast, cervical, colorectal and
the prostate can be screened.
Screening of breast cancer should begin at age 20 and be performed monthly by self-examination and women between 40 and 70 have the option to start screening with a
mammogram every year.
Cervical cancer screening test is Pap smear which is recommended for women at age 21 or
more than 3 years of sexual activity.
Colorectal Cancer screening includes colonoscopy, every 10 years starting at age 40; and
the Fecal Occult Blood test (FOBT), a lab test used to check stool samples for hidden (occult)
Prostate Cancer screening is the exam typically involves a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a test
for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, starting at age 50, which doctor tests the blood for
PSA levels to screen for prostate cancer. PSA is a protein that helps liquefy semen.
At the end of the interview, Dr. Varshoee stated that RROC with the help of advanced medical
diagnostic and treatment facilities such as Digital Radiology, Sonography, Mammography,
MRI, CT scan, Chemotherapy (27 equipped beds), Radiotherapy (5 linear accelerators) ,
Brachytherapy, Nuclear Medicine and Gastroenterology provides the best healthcare services at
affordable price and offers all services with public tariff
- source : Iran News