Archive for January, 2017

World Cancer Day 2017: Beat the Cancer

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day 2017 explores how everyone can play their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, and vow to make healthy lifestyle choices. Here’s all you need to know about this deadly disease.

What is cancer?

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. It harms the body when altered cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia). Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can release hormones that alter body function. Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor. Benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues, but remain in position and grow in large sizes.

What is different about Cancer Cells?

Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. Cancer cells are also often able to evade the immune system and ignore signals that normally tell cells to stop dividing.

What causes Cancer?

Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our parents. They can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. Cancer-causing environmental exposures include substances, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun.

What are the types of Cancer?

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. These are some of the most common types of cancer:

  • Anal cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
How is Cancer prevented?

Your risk of developing cancer can be substantially reduced by healthy behavior. This includes stopping the use of tobacco, getting sufficient physical activity, eating healthy foods, participating in cancer screenings, preventing obesity, getting sufficient sleep, reducing your exposure to toxins and getting vaccinated against the Human Papilomavirus (HPV).

How is cancer treated?

The most common treatments for cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Surgery can be used to take out the cancer. The doctor might also take out some or all of the body part the cancer affects.

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth.

Radiation is also used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. It can be used alone or with surgery or chemotherapy.

Here are some quick facts about Cancer:
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the numbers of new cancer cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 20 years.
  • The most common sites of cancer among men are lung, prostate, colon, rectum, stomach and liver.
  • The most common sites of cancer among women are breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix and stomach.
  • In developing countries, people over 65 years of age account for 40% of new cancer cases.
  • Green tea, berries, turmeric, avocado, kale, garlic and dark chocolate can naturally trigger damaged cancer cells to self-destruct via a process called apoptosis.

‘There is a CAN in CANCER because we can beat it!’

The Troubles of Thyroid

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Thyroid diseases have been around for generations. But only of recent, almost every third person (mainly women), claims to have been affected by an abnormally functioning thyroid gland. So, what exactly does this gland do? And why does it have such a great effect of the body – find all the information you need, below.

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It serves a crucial function in the endocrine system, by producing a variety of hormonesthat maintain the body’s metabolism (the process of creating and using energy). These hormones regulate many vital body functions likeheart rate, body weight, muscle strength, breathing, menstrual cycles, cholesterol levels etc. Several disorders arise with the functioning of the thyroid, those being:

  • Hyperthyroidism – when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than the body requires
  • Hypothyroidism – when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones
  • Goiter – enlargement of the thyroid gland
  • Thyroid nodules – lumps in the thyroid gland
  • Thyroiditis – swelling of the thyroid
  • Thyroid cancer

Here’s a closer look at these common thyroid malfunctions:


Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid is overactive and produces excessive amounts of hormones. In this case, the body’s processes speed up, causing nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, excessive sweating, fatigue, bulging eyes, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones. This disease is hereditary and is most commonly found in women. Other risk factors include stress, pregnancy, and smoking.

Hyperthyroidism also may be caused by nodules, goiters, thyroiditis and overconsumption of iodine (in foods and supplements).

Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical exams, and blood tests. Doctors may also order an ultrasound or a nuclear medicine scan of the thyroid to see if it has nodules, or whether it is inflamed or overactive.


Hypothyroidism stems from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. This condition slows down the body’s metabolism and includes symptoms like constipation, muscle weakness, weight gain, joint pain, depression, tiredness, dry skin, thinning hair, slow heart rate, etc.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the thyroid, causing damage to the tissue. Sometimes, radioactive iodine (for treatment of hyperthyroidism)and surgical removal of the thyroid gland can lead to hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism can often be diagnosed with a simple blood test.


A goiter is a swelling in the neck. It may be large enough that to be seen or felt. A very large goiter can also cause a tight feeling in the throat, coughing, or problems swallowing or breathing.It is usually caused by iodine deficiency in the diet. Most of the time, goiters don’t require treatment, and may shrink away on their own. In extreme cases, a surgery may be required to remove a part or most of the thyroid.

Thyroid Nodules

A thyroid nodule is a swelling that forms in or on the thyroid gland. It may be solid, or filled with fluid or blood. As with other thyroid-related problems, nodules are more common in women than men. Nodules do not show any major symptoms. In certain cases, the swelling may get so large, that it causes swallowing and breathing problems. Nodules also tend to cause hyperthyroidism. Usually, nodules can be detected through a physical exam or ultrasound. Treatments aren’t required in most cases. However, surgery or radio iodine can be used in extreme scenarios.


Thyroiditis refers to an inflammation of the thyroid. It occurs when the body produces antibodies that attack the thyroid. It is caused by autoimmune diseases, like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, genetics and viral or bacterial infection. Treatment for thyroiditis depends on the phase of the disease and the symptoms that can be seen.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer occurs when cancer cells form from the tissues of the gland. Most people with thyroid cancer have a thyroid nodule that does not show any symptoms. The main treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery to take out the whole thyroid gland or as much of it as can be safely removed. Doctors may also use radioiodine therapy after surgery to destroy any thyroid cancer cells that were not removed during surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body.

Why are men less likely than women to have problems with their thyroid?

Though not completely verified, researchers suspect it has to do with the differences in the immune system. Women have been found to have a more intense immune response to vaccinations, trauma, and infections, compared to men. Hence, it is likely that this highly active immune system puts women at risk for more thyroid disease.

Early detection can help control thyroid diseases. Contact Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital’s Thyroid Clinic and book your appointment now.

Making Sense Of Mental Health

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and behave. It also helps regulate how we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Mental disorders are common, but often go ignored, or purposely hidden due to shame. These illnesses are serious disorders which can affect your thinking, mood, and actions. There are many causes of mental disorders. Your genes and family history may play a major role. Your life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, may also matter. Biological factors can also be part of the cause.

Maintaining Your Mental Health

Even people who have good emotional health can sometimes have emotional problems or mental illness. However, here are 4 simple ways to keep your head happy.

Express your feelings appropriately:

It’s important to let people close to you know when something is bothering you. Keeping feelings of sadness or anger inside takes extra energy. It can also cause problems in your relationships and at work or school.

Think before you act

Emotions can be powerful. But before you get carried away by your emotions and say or do something you might regret, give yourself time to think.

Strive for balance in your life

Make time for things you enjoy. Focus on positive things in your life. Make the most of the little things you can be grateful for.

Take care of your physical health

Your physical health can affect your emotional health. Take care of your body by exercising regularly, eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.

Signs of Caution

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks

Therapy and counseling are types of treatment to improve your mental well-being. These treatments can help people who are experiencing emotional or behavior problems, or people who have a mental health disorder. To visit a psychotherapist, or for any mental health related problems, visit:

Group therapy is a method often used by therapists. Support groups are guided by a qualified leader. This professional facilitates a small group of people who have similar issues or problems. A group situation can improve honest interaction with others. Group members can also support each other during times of crisis and/or achievement. Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital also provides a variety of support groups to ensure that patients are well-supported throughout their illness. For more information, check: