The world is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Because of coronavirus, millions of people lost their lives. The virus has formed many variants and mutants and now it seems like it comes to the stage of endemic. Over the last two years during the pandemic, we are so much occupied to fight with the virus that we have often ignored other serious and critical diseases. One such disease is cancer. Cancer is one such disease that can be fatal if not treated and diagnosed early. Recently, on World Cancer Day, we had an exclusive conversation with one of central India’s renowned oncologists Doctor Amol Dongre.
Doctor Amol Shankar Dongre is specialized in solid tumor oncology, haematolymphoid malignancy, and bone marrow transplant. He currently works in Alexis, one of the best multispeciality hospitals in Nagpur. According to him, if cancer is detected early and timely then 80% of patients can be cured.
In a conversation, we have asked Doctor Amol Dongre about why there is a rise in cancer cases over the last two decades. He said,
‘Over the last two decades, medical science has evolved much faster, hence cancers are diagnosed more quickly. There was cancer before also. However, the cases were fewer because people were not aware of it and it was not diagnosed. But now, medical science and health technology have brought so many screenings and tests that made cancer not only diagnosed early but also getting cured.’
During our conversation, we asked him, how to diagnose symptoms of cancer. Doctor Amol Dongre said,
‘Irregular bleeding from the vagina, blood in urine and stools, constant pain in the lower abdomen, unexplained fever, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, trouble swallowing, change in bowel habits, persistent cough, severe fatigue, seizures, weight loss, or gain for no known reasons, and swelling or lumps anywhere such as groin, stomach, underarm, and neck can be symptoms of cancer.’
‘People who have these kinds of symptoms should consult the doctor immediately. Early diagnosis of cancer in patients, enables treatment that is more effective, less expensive, and less complex. Some people are often scared to visit hospitals due to coronavirus. However, people need to understand that hospitals follow all safety protocols, and delay in treatment sometimes prove fatal. It is always good to get yourself screened.’
On asking, how dangerous coronavirus is for cancer patients? Doctor Amol Dongre said,
‘Well, it all depends on the type of cancer. Patients with blood cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, have very low immunity. They are more prone to serious corona infection. Cancers in solid organs, such as the uterus, are at lower risk than patients with leukemia and lymphoma. Also, cancer treatment can make the patient very vulnerable. Patients with chemotherapy often lack white blood cells (WBC) and become very weak. These patients are advised to stay indoors, safe, and stay away from crowds. Apart from this, these patients are advised to contact the doctor immediately if symptoms like fever, vomiting, cough, or loose motions occur. Cancer patients also become very vulnerable even after surgery. Any bacteria or virus can make them their prey rapidly.’
Doctor Amol Dongre also advised women of the country to do annual cancer checkups. He added,
‘Most of the women in our country often ignore the symptoms of cancer. The main reasons for this are fear of disease, social, financial, and economic pressure, and also lack of education. The cases of ovarian cancer have increased rapidly since the coronavirus pandemic. That is why we recommend women to have annual cancer checkups like mammography for breast cancer, and sonography to detect other types of cancer.’
He has also advised on how cancer patients can take care of themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. Doctor Amol Dongre added,
‘To avoid corona, it is very important for cancer patients to wear masks like everyone, avoid crowds and maintain social distance. Also, cancer patients and survivors should eat a healthy and high protein diet, including foods that are rich in vitamin C like lemons, oranges, and citrus fruits.’
Will power is the key to fight with cancer. It was a pleasure talking to Doctor Amol Dongre. The way he manages and treats his patients is simply amazing. His lifestyle is an inspiration for many. The aura he carries with him boosts the spirit of the patients and his relatives to fight this disease with ease. Without a doubt, he is one of the best oncologists not only in central India but also in the entire nation.