Family Med-eZine TeamWednesday, 02 Apr 2014, 02:54 pm

On a cold and bright winter morning in Bangalore, Shobha (name changed) dragged herself out of bed unwillingly to make breakfast and pack lunch for the family - her daily routine. Her ankles were a bit swollen, but she put it down to excessive walking, nothing to worry about. There was a dull backache as she straightened up and that gnawing, deep pain in her abdomen was back again. Just a few days back, she had noticed some blood streaks on her inner wear after a hurried love-making session with her husband. These past few weeks had been very difficult, her bleeding did not seem to stop, and the pain never went away. 

She would see a doctor soon, she decided. No more hot water bottles and pain killers. Just after Sonia’s exams, she would go, she promised herself.

A month later, Shobha sat in the waiting area of the local Gynaecologist’s clinic. She did not know whether to laugh or cry as she was in a state of shock, and her husband was staring at her. The doctor had examined her, recommended a biopsy, and here was the result. She was suffering from cervical cancer. It was in an advanced stage, what the doctors called stage four.

Cervical Cancer - Can we win the battle yet?The doctor was not very sure how much time she had left. It was all over, she felt.

Cancer, life makes us believe, means death and pain. It is the beginning of the end, the first word in one’s obituary. The moment a test detects cancer cells in the body, most of us believe, this is it!On the other hand are those endearing images of survivors, the hauntingly beautiful Manisha Koirala who has managed to beat cervical cancer for now, or the ethereal Lisa Ray, are among the many many fighters and survivors of this dreaded disease.

What makes a normal cell turn cancerous?

Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells, it is not really one disease. It is a cluster of abnormalities, an unnatural cell divide in which instead of multiplying normally, cells divide without any control, even invading other healthy tissue. There are more than 100 different types of cancer, and most get their names after the body part they invade.

Yet, there must be something we could do to hold it at bay? The key lies in understanding what it really is, and how to catch it before it catches you! There are some clear symptoms that can help identify the earliest warning signs.

(Note: Images used in the article are indicative only and not related to the content of the article in any manner)