Detecting and treating cancer at an early stage can significantly improve a person's survival rate. Effective treatment can result in cancer going into remission, which means the patient has been relieved from the signs and symptoms. If a patient remains in remission for a few years then it’s considered that cancer is cured. However, in a few cases, there are chances of cancer recurrence after several years.

Risk factors increase a person's chances of developing cancer. They include factors that people cannot control such as age, hormonal changes, and genetics. The other general risk factors for various common cancers include : 

  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Using tobacco in any form ( cigarette, chewing, pan, gutka, masheri)
  • Exposure to radiation such as ultraviolet, microwave, radon
  • Viral infections such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis B or C, HIV
  • Nulliparity ( Breast cancer, ovarian cancer)
  • Multiparity or having multiple sexual partners (cervical cancer)
  •  Chemical or toxic compound exposure
  • Lack of dietary fibre
  • Inactivity
  • Bacterial infections like H.Pylori ( Gastric cancer)
  • Highly processed red meat or smoked meat/fish
  • Preservatives in precooked or packed food
  • Preservatives like Parabens in toiletries and cosmetics etc.

Cancer is a non-communicable disease. Having sex, sharing food, kissing, touching or breathing the same air doesn’t spread cancer. This is because a healthy immune system strongly resists cancer cells from entering the body. 

However, it should be noted that the virus or bacteria like Human Papillomavirus which is related to cancer can be transmitted from person to person sexually.

Hair loss is one of the common side-effects of chemotherapy but not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. During the treatment, chemotherapy drugs also attack normal cells which divide rapidly (including hair follicles, nails, the lining of intestines and mouth) along with the cancer cells that cause temporary side-effects.  After the chemotherapy is over the impact on normal cells is reversed and people get their hair back, which is usually thicker than the original hair.

Hair loss due to chemotherapy drugs are temporary and the hair re-grows once the treatment is completed except in some cases. Hair re-grows within four to six months of chemotherapy treatment.

Yes, there are certain things that help us to reduce the chances of getting cancer. Following a healthy lifestyle can help you beat the disease.

  •  Regular physical activities
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Having lots of fruits and vegetables and fresh food
  • Limit alcohol
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Get a regular medical checkup
  • Doing de-stressing exercises regularly
  • Adequate rest and sleep
  • Staying away from radiation exposure
  • Getting treatment for various bacteria and viruses causing certain cancers

Cancer cannot be prevented completely, but we can take some measures to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Although we can follow some measures to reduce the risk, there are certain factors which are not under the control of a person.

Stage IV cancer is referred to as metastatic cancer. It means the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body from its origin. If the spread is limited, it is called  Oligometastases and the treatment is intended to cure, However, if the spread is extensive, it will be difficult to cure the disease but there are treatments which can reduce the growth of cancer cells and relieve the symptoms caused by the disease.

Life after cancer is like a new chapter for the cancer survivors. It depends upon each person how they cope up with the situation. The common concern among the cancer survivors is the risk of cancer recurrence. With proper Psychological/emotional support, survivors are able to resume normal activities after completion of their treatment. Advancements in the medical field have helped the patients to recover from the disease as soon as possible and it is important to look after the long term health to improve the quality of life.

Family history is a record of your family's health information. Understanding the family history of cancer and other diseases are important. Sharing the medical facts about your family with the doctor can help you recognize the risk of developing the disease in you.

Cancer in your family doesn't always mean that you have a higher risk of developing it. However, the incidence of two or more family members getting affected can mean that you have a possibility of sharing that gene and being at higher risk. This requires sitting with your specialist and finding out whether you need genetic counselling and early screenings.

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About Dr. Shabnam Bashir


Dr. Shabnam Bashir has time and again proved her extensive and versatile expertise as a Colorectal Cancer Surgeon. This is validated by the successful cases of patients that she has dealt with.

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