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HOW INDIA CAN AVOID THE APPROACHING CRISIS OF BLOOD AND PLASMA DONORS

There is an impending dearth of blood and plasma donors threatening to challenge and overwhelm our healthcare machinery. Let’s understand the possible ways to deal with it.

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Amidst a devastating second wave that has caught the entire country off-guard, there has been widespread reportage on shortages in oxygen supply and the resultant loss of precious lives in utterly tragic circumstances. Even as the whole nation remains on tenterhooks with authorities scrambling to address this shortage of oxygen as early as they can, there is yet another shortage looming ahead threatening to challenge and overwhelm our healthcare machinery. There is an impending dearth of blood and plasma donors. A tribe which could suddenly ‘go extinct,’ now that the vaccination programme for those in the age group of 18-45 has got underway from May onwards. 

WHY THE FEAR OF SHORTAGE OF BLOOD/PLASMA DONORS LOOMS POST-THIRD STAGE 

Notwithstanding the patchy manner in which the programme has started, the third phase of vaccination for those aged between 18 and 45 is set to cover nearly 60 crore people. This youthful demographic forms a significant and weighty component in the 130 crore plus population. Even assuming that the actual inoculation of this entire demographic may take long enough, a substantial number of potential blood donors would increasingly become ineligible to donate blood and its components. Aside from the fact that a person can donate blood only after every three months, there are stipulated temporal restrictions for those who would wish to donate blood after their Covid-19 jabs. For instance, those taking the Covaxin injection would have to wait for 28 days from the time of vaccination and since there are two doses that one has to take, it essentially amounts to 56 days of waiting time before a person can donate blood. Similarly, those opting for Covishield would have to wait even longer since the second booster dose can be delayed up to eight weeks from the first dose. As a result, millions of our youngsters would become ‘unqualified’ for blood donation for nearly 56-84 days since their first Covid-19 jab. And under normal circumstances, since young people are encouraged to donate blood as against the older folks who are usually dissuaded from donating blood, the earlier vaccination of older people (up till 65 years of age) would not matter here even if they would be technically eligible to donate.                    

A BLOOD-DEFICIENT INDIA ALREADY FACING SHORTFALL SINCE THE FIRST WAVE

By several estimates, India is already a blood deficient country. Even before the Covid-19 onslaught, a Lancet research in 2019 had advanced that India was faced with a shortage of 41 million units with demand outweighing supply by a mammoth 400%. For a country with a high disease burden with limited and iniquitous access to healthcare, this revelation was demoralizing enough. The advent of Covid-19 with its accompanying mobility restrictions and the sheer fear of getting infected with the deadly virus would have been a further deterrent to anyone volunteering to donate blood. States such as Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Odisha were all reported to be facing scarcity from the early phases of the first wave lockdowns itself. The upheaval had impinged on the availability of precious blood for a large number of patients of cancer, sickle-cell disease and thalassemia, mothers suffering a postpartum haemorrhage, and those requiring emergency surgeries.

FALLOUT ON PLASMA AVAILABILITY TOO

With convalescent plasma having been recommended for Covid-19 patients, plasma has become a precious commodity with the mainstream media repeatedly reporting on the shortage of Covid-recovered plasma donors. Notably, a good number of the 18-45 demographic going to take the injection in the third phase would have recovered from Covid-19 earlier without the vaccines in the pre-vaccine phase itself, and who would have been otherwise eligible to donate plasma. But now those recovered young patients too would have to wait for two to three months before they could donate their plasma towards the ongoing Covid-19 fight. Alternatively, it may well be argued that vaccine being the most potent weapon is our de-facto foremost option and plasma is only a secondary tool. Yet, that the upcoming vaccination covering the entire youth in the country constrains our options in the immediate term can’t be denied.

THE VOLUNTARY NATURE OF BLOOD DONATION INHERENTLY LIMITS OPTIONS

We know that blood and related material can become lifesaving in several conditions and diseases which are prevailing in the country. Given the voluntary nature of donating blood coupled with the misconceptions and ill-conceived fears surrounding donating blood, the odds are inherently stacked against sufficient supplies of donated blood being available in the country.      

A FEW STEPS THAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN CONSIDER

Since the sheer ferocity of the second wave rules out the organising of extensive outdoor blood donation camps nowadays, the government can consider a series of steps to head off the upcoming shortage. One, they must get a full and updated account of all the existing blood and related material from all the states down to the last district sourcing information and data from all hospitals and blood banks, both private and public. Second, an estimate must be ready at hand on the quantum of blood that might be required in the forthcoming future in each district and state are drawn based on usage patterns in the past, the prevailing burden of diseases and patient population. Third, armed with data, the government must have blood transportation teams in place with state capitals ideally serving as hubs for further transportation to hospitals and patients in the shortest possible time. Fourth, although donating blood is a voluntary exercise, politicians, celebrities, and public icons should publically donate blood before their upcoming vaccination promoting blood donation as a noble objective. Several public figures, who are aged below 45 years, could take this up to inspire the common youth to donate blood before getting vaccinated. This would keep the supplies of blood up and running.

At the same time, the authorities would also take heart to the fact that the upcoming situation is not as grim as it looks apparently. After all, it would take a considerable time for this entire demographic to get their full doses allowing sufficient time in between for the government to replenish the blood supplies from time to time. With elective surgeries postponed and accidents having reduced due to lockdowns, there would be some breathing room too. Mostly, bleeding disorders, emergency surgeries and deliveries would test the government’s blood supply management. The government simply needs to find that balance between the pace of vaccinating this demographic and impressing upon sufficient numbers in time to donate blood before they take the jab.               

The writer is the President of the Council for Healthcare and Pharma and the Founder of Reva Pharma.

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Health & Wellness

IMPORTANCE OF RIGHT COVID SAFETY GEAR GIVEN THE ADVENT OF THIRD WAVE

Hemant Sapra

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The pandemic is not over yet and global experts predict the upcoming third wave to be more dangerous. The breakthrough we achieved by developing the vaccines of high efficacy certainly brings hope and optimism. Unfortunately, for everyone to get vaccinated and gain complete immunity against the Covid-19 would take a long time. So, let us not be complacent during this critical stage. Now, it is a crucial time to increase vigilance and to adhere to the safety measures without any lapse.

STOPPING THE SPREAD STARTS WITH TAKING THE RIGHT STEPS

According to healthcare experts, the third wave of Covid-19 may hit India by the end of this year. The previous waves have renewed the panic amongst people, making them think harder on how to keep themselves safe from the virus. It is widely proven that selecting and proper using of right PPE can prevent you from the third wave of Covid-19 and even upcoming waves. So, wearing protective gear such as a face mask, face shield, gloves, kits etc., can protect you and those around you, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Stopping the spread starts with taking the right steps. As responsible manufacturers of personal protective equipment, it is our duty to provide the most accurate information to educate users with the right tools of safety.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT FACE MASK

Your face mask not only protects you but also helps protect those around you. One of the biggest challenges faced by users today is the quest to find the right mask.

Let us begin by understanding the difference between cotton masks, surgical masks and N95/FFP2 respirators. A cotton mask is a loose-fitted mask that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. A surgical mask is a 3-ply mask meant to be used by medical personnel during procedures. N95 or FFP2 respirators, on the other hand, are personal protective equipment that protects the wearer from airborne particles and aerosols from entering the respiratory system.

The first step in selecting the right face mask for any user is to look for the correct certification on its packaging. In India, ISI Marked FFP2 certification is the most important to look out for. N95 is an American Certification provided by NIOSH (certifying body based in the USA) which is the equivalent to the ISI FFP2 standard. Both these certifications claim 94/95% filtering efficiency, which is most suited for protection against coronavirus.

The next important criterion is the mask should completely seal the mouth and nose to prevent any air leakage. The nose clip should be flexible enough to take the shape of the nose and you should be able to breathe properly.

An N95 or FFP2 Mask is recommended to be used for 12 cumulative hours. The mask can be reused multiple times until 12 hours of usage is achieved. After use, it should be properly disposed-off in a closed bin by tearing off its loops or headband to prevent reuse. Please refrain from washing the mask as it destroys the filtering fabric thereby making it ineffective against coronavirus.

Face masks when used in combination with other personal protective gears, can provide the most effective protection from any of the waves of Covid-19.

THE TAKEAWAY

We need to emphasise and promote practising safety protocols including social distancing, maintaining hand hygiene and wearing face masks even after getting vaccinated. Pandemic or not, face masks are here to stay and should consciously be made a part of our lives for the good health and safety of our loved ones.

Many started considering the third wave lightly and started showing utter disregard for the precautionary measures. Considering the speed of spread, we should not forget that the only way out is to obey the rules and wear the right certified PPEs. And most importantly, get vaccinated at the earliest since it reduces the possible complications in case you contract the virus. Encourage your friend and family also to take the vaccines without delay and to continue following the safety measure.

The writer is Co-founder and President, Global Marketing at KARAM Group and President of Safety Appliances Manufacturing Association (SAMA).

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Health & Wellness

ARTHRITIS AND OSTEOPOROSIS HAVE ADDED TO CRIPPLING THE ELDERLY DURING THE PANDEMIC

Dr Lavindra Tomar

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It has been increasingly witnessed in the elderly that they are more vulnerable to Covid-19, and this is compounded by the fact that they also have poor outcomes for survival. A higher risk has been associated with comorbid pre-existing medical conditions. The elderly with pre-existing arthritis and osteoporosis have progressed to debilitatingly painful symptomatology during the Covid era.

Sedentary lifestyles and poor exercise tolerability have increased the risks significantly with the deterioration of already pre-existing medical ailments. Reluctance for consultation due to lockdown restrictions, societal pressures to remain homebound to avoid Covid exposure, fear of affecting family members and re-allocation of resources in hospitals have all contributed immensely to the delay and initiation of timely management for arthritis and osteoporosis.

The Covid vaccine diplomacy along with the early vaccine hesitancy has also contributed to the fear of psychosis amongst both the educated and uneducated masses of the population.

Add to the above, surgical procedures and arthroplasty have been delayed in the management of arthritis.

The rescheduling of surgical replacements has presented now with multi-fold additional challenges in these times of the Covid pandemic. Poor chest compliance, lower exercise tolerance, thrombotic episodes, susceptibility to secondary infections, weak cardiac health have significantly increased risks in the elderly planned for elective surgery. The pre- Covid fit elderly population has now been graded as high-risk candidates for procedures.

Off-label use of drugs such as steroids, antivirals, DMARDs, immunomodulators, and plasma therapy for the management of Covid related illness has also had deleterious effects leading to a silent disaster-in-making. Significant alterations to an individual’s immune system, decreased glycaemic diabetic threshold, susceptibility to uncommon inflammation or infection including fungal and variability of inflammatory markers have confounded the clinician’s judgement. The diagnostic dilemma and unconventional treatment protocols have delayed the timely offer of surgery for the arthritic joint.

The contagious evolution of the Covid pandemic poses new challenges in the surgical management of joint arthritis. Personal observation suggests that there has been a 40% decline in replacement surgeries with additional delay in rescheduling of the planned surgeries. There is an urgent need to identify the crippling effects of arthritis and osteoporosis in the elderly to provide timely management.

The writer is Director & Unit Head, Department of Orthopaedics Max Super Specialty Hospital, Patparganj.

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Health & Wellness

WHY YOU NEED TO ADDRESS DIABETES DISTRESS

Positively accepting the diagnosis through proper counselling can help overcome diabetes distress and lead to better outcomes.

Dr Arbinder Singal

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A diagnosis like diabetes can bring with it some amount of distress because most of the time it comes as a shock to many people since the condition is asymptomatic. But a recent survey done on 250 people with diabetes by a team of psychologists at Fitterfly saw that 83% of people were willing to bring in desired behaviour changes to take charge of their health and bring down blood sugar levels. With proper counselling and education about the condition, about 70% of people felt motivated enough to stay on the prescribed course of treatment and attain healthy habits. This also shows that positively accepting the diagnosis through proper counselling can help overcome diabetes distress and lead to better outcomes. This is the first-ever diabetes distress survey done in India. 

THE DANGERS OF TOILING WITH DIABETES DISTRESS 

While most of us don’t speak much about the psychological impact of diabetes, this kind of distress is genuine and overwhelming. Diabetes distress can also manifest in different ways :

Emotional distress: Making one angry, frustrated, guilty, or panicky

Physician distress: Unhappy with a physician due to lack of time spent or inability to express one’s fears and concerns 

Regimen distress: The continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels, diet watch and exercise, taking timely medication and more

Interpersonal distress: Problems between partners or limited involvement in family matters 

Diabetes distress has been associated with poor self-management and increasing levels of HbA1c. Many people give up too soon and stop taking insulin or oral medications. Uncontrolled diabetes distress can lead to diabetes burnout, with high sugar levels turning it into a life-threatening incident. While it is natural to feel distressed after a diagnosis, it isn’t advisable to deal with it alone. Sometimes one needs considerable help to overcome this feeling. 

It is critical to identify the signs of diabetes distress to reign control over the same. Here are a few signs that indicate diabetes distress: 

• Feeling angry about the diagnosis and frustrated about managing the same

• Worrying about not being capable of managing diabetes well 

• Being fearful about the complications or fearful of being dependent on medications 

• Avoiding going to appointments or checking blood sugars and being in denial 

• Making unhealthy food choices or indulging in emotional eating 

• Feeling alone, dejected or isolated

GET HELP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE 

If you feel any of the above signs, get help immediately. Diabetes distress is not depression, but if ignored for long, it can lead to the same. In such a scenario, the consequences can be disastrous. Depression interferes with the ability to think clearly. It causes indecisiveness and the inability to perform tasks like taking the medications and meals on time, exercising, etc. Depression causes a rise in a stress hormone — cortisol, which interferes with glucose metabolism, increases insulin resistance, and causes accumulation of belly fat. It is ideal to get help before one reaches this stage. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO 

Pay attention to your feelings and act promptly: Rather than feeling frustrated, try to concentrate on the positives that can be controlled. Plan for a reversal if possible, or take control of your lifestyle choices to lessen the risks of complications.

Talk to other people who have diabetes: Alternatively, you can also check for support groups and share your struggles and coping strategies. Reaching out to people always has a positive impact on one’s mental well-being. 

Indulge in therapies that give you solace: Whether journaling your feelings or art therapy, or other hobbies that help you stay motivated, indulge in them to keep your mind agile and upbeat. 

Trust your near and dear ones: Most of the time, when you are in denial, you reject the support from your family and friends. But don’t, if you have trusted people around you, talk to them about your feelings (to relieve the stress) and don’t deny the help they extend to you, whether it is moral support or reminding you about your medications. 

Look for expert help: Sometimes, it gets overwhelming to counter diabetes distress all alone; in such a case, reaching out to an expert is an ideal solution. With DTx programs that promise highly personalised care and a holistic approach to diabetes, mental well-being is taken into consideration along with nutrition therapy and exercise plans for better outcomes. Fitterfly’s DTx diabetes care program – Diabefly focuses on psychological well-being for people with diabetes along with a proper nutrition plan and exercise regime. A proper psychological intervention can help one:  

• comply with the treatment plan

• adhere to diet and exercise routines 

• be timely with medication

• practice proper sleep hygiene

• positively control emotions and reduce stress levels 

• have a positive outlook 

• focus on healing and reducing risks of diabetes complications

Studies have also shown that better control over diabetes distress leads to better glycemic control and blood sugar levels. A positive mind is imperative in proper diabetes control and management.  

The writer is CEO & Co-founder, Fitterfly. 

Diabetes distress has been associated with poor self-management and increasing levels of HbA1c. Many people give up too soon and stop taking insulin or oral medications. Uncontrolled diabetes distress can lead to diabetes burnout, with high sugar levels turning it into a life-threatening incident. While it is natural to feel distressed after a diagnosis, it isn’t advisable to deal with it alone. Sometimes one needs considerable help to overcome this feeling.

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Health & Wellness

BEYOND MEDICINE: THE ART OF SELF-HEALING

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Medicine has limitations

Nutrition has limitations

Exercise has limitations

But, the human mind and body? Limitless.

Doctors don’t heal you. Medicines don’t heal you. Nutrition doesn’t heal you. Pranayama doesn’t heal you. Your body heals you. What heals a fractured bone that’s put in a cast? Your body again! Doctors, nutritionists, medicines, superfoods, all of this can create an environment that’s conducive to healing, but it’s your own body that does the magic.

So, while you continue to take medicines, foods apt for you, advice from your nutritionist, what are some of the things that lie in your capacity? Let’s go through some superpowers you already have so you can put them to use.

YOUR OWN ATTITUDE

Most people struggling to reach their goals have the wrong attitude. The attitude of an individual is as important (if not more) than the drug and the treatment. Yes, no one likes to be told that or hear that they lack the right attitude. But those who realize this, accept it and start to make changes, the magic begins to flow into their lives.

When someone is struck with a disease or illness, you do not throw your life and body into the hands of your doctors and healers. You must involve yourself in the process of healing. When you are not involved, you put full responsibility on your doctor or healer, you open up the doors to blame, complain, find fault, judge and all this only goes against creating a conducive environment for healing. Yes, your experts can put in their knowledge, wisdom and experience to bring you back to normalcy, but it cannot work effectively if you do not equally participate.

The worst attitudes are those of blame, complaining and ungratefulness. These attitudes poison you, rusts your soul, robs you of happiness and weighs you down like an anchor.

To have the right attitude you should also be able to have trust and faith in the team that is treating you. If you can’t feel that faith and trust, it is important you change the team that is handling your health and life. Nothing works without faith, trust and belief.

YOUR MIND

Our mind is the most powerful drug that we have, however for it to become our best asset or biggest enemy is totally under our control and that can be achieved by controlling the quality of our thoughts. Simply changing the way, you think and taking charge of what occupies your mind, can improve your physical health and well-being.

More and more studies done around holistic health today prove that human beings are more than just the physical body and that emotions, thoughts, attitudes, and spirituality play an essential role in healing. No amount of healing can occur if our mind believes otherwise. Healing starts the very moment we believe we can heal. This is why when we consult our patients, our first question to them is – Do you believe your health can improve? If they say – yes, we know the next few months are going to be successful. If they say – no, then we put in the effort to first work on their mindset.

We handle so many cases of cancer as of today, but no two cancer cases of the same type and stage respond to the treatment in a similar way. One reason could possibly be that everybody is different and unique and the second one is the mind. While some approach the disease with a positive attitude and mindset, some lose hope completely – which automatically reflects on their response to the treatment.

FORGIVENESS

Today, science proves the connection between unforgiveness and its effects on our health. Something as small as the inability or unwillingness to forgive can cause immense stress in the body and suppress our immune system.

While you can continue taking medications for anxiety and stress, none of that truly addresses a problem at an emotional level which might probably be caused due to your inability to forgive. Let go. Release all the grudging you are holding onto. You too have been forgiven by others several times. So, what is holding you back from not forgiving others? Do it for you, and see how smoothly that emotional burden lifts off your chest, and your health improves. Yes, it’s not easy, but difficult does not mean we do not try.

The list of self-healing tools is endless because there is so much an individual can do beyond their usual protocol to assist their own healing and health. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, brown, man or woman, child or senior. It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish. These powerful self-healing tools remain the same and hold the same values. You can spend a fortune on medications and treatments, but at the end of the day, it becomes our personal responsibility to participate in the process of healing and getting better. Know that you have immense power in you, which is beyond medicine to enable a healing internal environment and restore your health. Use them well.

The writer is a Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine and Founder of You Care – All about You.

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Health & Wellness

SATTVIC FOOD AND ITS IMPACT ON FMCG SECTOR

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Sattvic diet has its origins in Ayurveda. Those who follow and live a sattvic lifestyle fundamentally consume all-natural nutrition-rich foods, consisting primarily of fresh produce and nuts. The Sattvic diet is a high fibre, low-fat pure vegetarian diet associated with a predominant intake of micronutrients.

As per Ayurveda, shifting to a Sattvic lifestyle and diet is the best choice for enhancing longevity, physical energy, and mental health. A Sattvic diet is abundant in fresh, nutrient-dense foods. All the ingredients in a Sattvic diet provide your body with a healthy source of protein, healthy fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.Also incorporating a sattvic diet has been proven to promote a clearer mind, help free the body of built-up toxins, thus, purifying both the body and mind.

The sattvic diet is nutritious as 40% of the diet involves raw vegetables and fruits in salads. Consuming natural fresh foods delivers all the necessary nutrients, dietary fibre, antioxidants, proteins, minerals and healthy fats. Furthermore, promoting the body’s immunity and supporting a more robust immune system.

Composed primarily of low carbs and calories, the ingredients in a Sattvic diet are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Also sattvic food is generous in fibre, which helps in reducing calories and retains the feeling of being content and well-fed after mealtimes. Thus, Sattvic food promotes weight loss.

Being on a sattvic diet involves consuming fresh foods. Vegetables and fruits have the highest nutrients, minerals, and fibre when consumed raw. Thus, promoting easy digestion ensuring wholesome absorption of nutrients. A simplistic approach to understanding toxicity in your body is to observe how often you feel bloating, headache, skin rashes, fatigue or nausea. Switching to a sattvic diet can help detox and heal your body. The sattvic diet is packed with goodness that promotes the balance of the body and mind.

With sattvic lifestyle showing visible benefits, more Indians are shifting to a vegetarian, pulses, legumes, and lentils-rich diet. This has contributed to the surge in the income generated by the FMCG sector in the country. Moreover, the sudden change in the working world and work from home becoming a reality for many has led the FMCG sector to experience a transformation.

The past year saw an unexpected development in homegrown brands that promise to deliver chemical-free, all-natural FMCG products. Many people shifted their preference from big brand names to more modest newer brands and products.

The efficiency of selling their products digitally or via social media made the private labels brands obtain a substantial market size moderately quickly. Furthermore, building an association with their target audience through brand ambassadors has helped private and notable brands in the FMCG sector make sales in the past year.

To add to the surge in sales via online platforms, most FMCG brands started delivering their goods straight to the customers’ doorstep. Thus, making consumers rely more on those brands that offered a home delivery option.

With the increase in income per household and social media platforms highlighting the lifestyle of others, there has been an escalation in interest and purchasing capacity of branded FMCG products that help sustain a healthy and sattvic lifestyle.

Growing acceptance, more convenient access, and enriching lifestyles are the primary growth operators for FMCG products and a sattvic diet.

The writer is CEO and MD, Annakoot by ISKCON Bangalore.

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Health & Wellness

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT FOR THYROID CANCER

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The present sedentary lifestyle habits have given way to multiple health concerns. One of the most common among them is thyroid disorder. We often come across a lot of women and men facing thyroid issues regardless of age but are little aware of thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is an unusual form of cancer that grows in the thyroid cells. The thyroid gland secretes a hormone called Thyroxine which is required in the regulation of the body’s metabolic rate, cardiovascular, neural, and digestive functioning. It functions through almost every cell of the body.

A genetic (mutations) change in the cells of the thyroid gland leads to thyroid cancer. Because of these mutations, the cells grow and develop rapidly and they also lose the ability to die, as normal cells. The exact reason for thyroid cancer in the majority of the cases has not been delineated. The most important cause is radiation exposure. It is also common among patients who got radiation treatment for other diseases like lymphoma at a younger age. Usually, thyroid Cancer is manifested after a gap of 15 to 20 years. Other genetic mutations have been identified but the exact cause for most of these mutations has not been explained.

SYMPTOMS 

• Pain and swelling in the neck

• Hoarseness

• Difficulty swallowing

• Cough

• Weight loss

• Trouble breathing

• Fatigue

Other symptoms include swelling over bones, headache, seizures, and respiratory distress due to lung involvement etc.

DIAGNOSIS 

Ultrasound examination of the neck and fine-needle aspiration cytology are the basic investigations, which are administered to confirm thyroid cancer. In advanced cases, Computerised tomography, iodine scan or positron emission tomography (PET) is done. Iodine scan is mostly done after thyroidectomy to observe any residual thyroid tissue and distant metastases.

TREATMENT 

Thyroid cancer is normally treatable, even if the case is at an advanced stage and some effective treatment options ensure a great chance for a recovery. Surgery is the most important step in the management of thyroid cancer. Complete removal of the thyroid gland called thyroidectomy is the initial treatment procedure. If imaging suggests the involvement of surrounding structures or lymph nodes, those structures and lymph node dissections also needs to be planned to eliminate thyroid cancer. 

RADIOACTIVE IODINE THERAPY POST-TREATMENT

Radioactive iodine therapy is used to ablate (destroy) any thyroid tissue not removed by surgery or to treat some types of thyroid cancer that have spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

After the surgery, the patient undergoes a scanning called radioiodine scan to know about any residual thyroid tissue or thyroid cancer in any part of the body. This must be done after thyroid gland removal, as in the presence of the thyroid gland, most of the iodine will be taken up by thyroid follicular cells and the scan will be negative for other deposits. Usually, it is done three to four weeks following thyroid removal. It may be normal or residual tissue detected. 

PREVENTION

Thyroid cancer can be prevented by avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation, including emission from medical imaging procedures, especially in young children. Genetic tests can be administered to detect the gene mutations found in familial medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). Due to this, most of the familial cases of MTC can be treated early by removing the thyroid gland. 

A healthy lifestyle routine plays an important role in detecting cancer in its early stage. This ensures timely diagnosis leading to effective treatment and management of the disease. It is always advisable to eat healthily and stay fit which will eventually improve the body immunity. Overall, thyroid cancer is completely curable in the majority of patients even in advanced stages and standard guidelines are available. 

The writer is a Consultant Surgical Oncologist, HCG Panda Cancer Hospital.

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