Cancer is a word, not a sentence

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Cancer is a word, not a sentence.  This was part of the opening remarks by Dr. Iain Corness with Bangkok Hospital Pattaya (BHP), in introducing Dr. Chanawat Tesavibul, M.D., Radiation Oncologist, at the Sunday, March 18 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club.

Dr. Iain said that Dr. Chanawat would be sharing his knowledge about cancer, especially in the area of reducing risk factors and the importance of early detection.  Dr. Chanawat has an extensive background in radiation oncology and presently works with Wattanasoth Cancer Hospital in Bangkok; part of the Bangkok Hospital Group. He is also the general secretary of the Society of Radiation Oncology of Thailand.

Well known Pattaya identity Dr. Iain Corness, of Bangkok Hospital Pattaya (BHP), introduces Dr. Chanawat Tesavibul, M.D., Radiation Oncologist, of the Wattanasoth Cancer Hospital in Bangkok, which is part of the Bangkok Hospital group.Well known Pattaya identity Dr. Iain Corness, of Bangkok Hospital Pattaya (BHP), introduces Dr. Chanawat Tesavibul, M.D., Radiation Oncologist, of the Wattanasoth Cancer Hospital in Bangkok, which is part of the Bangkok Hospital group.

Dr. Chanawat provided information about the various forms of cancer and identifying those that are the leading cause of death; lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer. About 30% of cancer deaths are due to five leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.  Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.

He explained that cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs. This process is referred to as metastasis. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.

Jerry Deane, as second speaker, invites PCEC members to help the works of the Pattaya Friends of Youth, improving the quality of life of many of Pattaya’s less fortunate children.Jerry Deane, as second speaker, invites PCEC members to help the works of the Pattaya Friends of Youth, improving the quality of life of many of Pattaya’s less fortunate children.

Cancer arises from one single cell. The transformation from a normal cell into a tumor cell is a multistage process, typically a progression from a pre-cancerous lesion to malignant tumors. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and three categories of external agents, including: (a) physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; (b) chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant) and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant); and (c) biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites.

Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a buildup of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.

Cancer can be reduced and controlled by implementing strategies for cancer prevention, early detection of cancer and management of patients with cancer. Many cancers have a high chance of cure if detected early and treated adequately. Prevention involves increasing your avoidance of the risk factors, vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), controlling occupational hazards, and reducing exposure to sunlight.

Roger Rabbit (a.k.a. Derek McCarrick, O.B.E.) has his blood pressure checked by lovely BHP staff - in anticipation for his next marathon?Roger Rabbit (a.k.a. Derek McCarrick, O.B.E.) has his blood pressure checked by lovely BHP staff – in anticipation for his next marathon?

Further, cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. There are two aspects to early detection. One is early diagnosis by being aware of early signs and symptoms (for cancer types such as cervical, breast, colorectal and oral) and the other is screening tests. Dr. Chanawat described some of the different screening methods for certain cancers.

He emphasized that cancer can be treated, especially if caught early. It requires a careful selection of one or more of the treatment methods, such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The goal is to cure the disease or considerably prolong life while improving the patient’s quality of life. But, cancer diagnosis and treatment needs to be accompanied with psychological support. Completing the circle is palliative care which is treatment to relieve, rather than cure, symptoms caused by cancer. It helps people live more comfortably.

Relief from physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems can be achieved in over 90% of advanced cancer patients through palliative care.

After describing some of the palliative care strategies, Dr. Chanawat concluded by describing the facilities and equipment available at Wattanasoth Cancer Hospital; website: http://www.bangkokhospital. com/watanosoth/

Afterward, Master of  Ceremonies Richard Silverberg called on Jerry Dean with the Friends of Youth special interest group to present a brief video on their activities. He explained that donations received by the various children’s charity organizations are used for their housing, food, clothing, and medical needs. One thing lacking is for the children to get away from the home or usual background and have some fun.  This is where the Friends of Youth come in. The video clip had many pictures of the children going on fishing trips, shopping trips, bowling, and other activities – all with smiling happy faces.

Richard Silverberg then called on Roy Albiston to conduct the always informative and sometime humorous Open Forum..  The Pattaya City Expats Club meets every Sunday at the Amari Orchid’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant. Read more about the Club’s activities on their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.