Here’s everything you need to know about neuroendocrine cancer – the disease actor Irrfan Khan is suffering from.
The rare cancer that Irrfan Khan is suffering from…
It has been a month since acclaimed Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan made a startling revelation about battling a rare disease called neuroendocrine cancer. Recently, he penned his emotional journey of going through a painful treatment in London in a leading newspaper. Dr Vikas Ostwal, MD DM, Associate Professor, Dept of Medical Oncology, Consultant GI DMG (Gastrointestinal Disease Management Group), Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, gives us a lowdown on what neuroendocrine cancer is all about, its causes, prevention, treatment and more…
What Is Neuroendocrine Cancer? It is a rare type of cancer arising from specific cells involved in acid secretion or the hormone production in the gastrointestinal tract. It can occur in different grades depending on the cancer cell multiplication rate. Overall, neuroendocrine tumours occur approximately in one to two out of 1,00,000 people. In case of carcinoma (cancer arising in the epithelial tissue of the skin or of the lining of the internal organs) rate, it is further lower.
Symptoms To Identify Generally, it causes a decrease in appetite, cough, vomiting and weight loss. Neuroendocrine cancer may secrete excess acids or hormones, leading to other symptoms like diarrhoea. Neuroendocrine carcinoma can occur in the lung, stomach, pancreas etc.
Risk Factors There is no specific risk factor. But generally it develops in elderly men. Some viral infection and exposure to certain heavy metals like arsenic may be responsible in a few cases.
Causes The exact cause for the existence of neuroendocrine
cancer isn’t known. Safe hygiene practices and avoidance of tobacco are the way forward towards less cancer risks.
Early Diagnosis Neuroendocrine cancer is generally diagnosed late, especially in the fourth stage. If diagnosed early, chemotherapy and surgery would help cure the patient. Development of weight loss, decreased appetite, hyperacidity, diarrhoea etc should be evaluated from an expert.
Are The Chances Of Survival Comparatively Lower? Yes, since it is diagnosed commonly at stage four, which is an advanced stage of cancer. Treatment with chemotherapy at this stage generally controls the tumour for a few months before it starts re-growing to take patients to the terminal phase of life rapidly. Treatment Chemotherapy is considered for approximately six months and surgeries can be considered too. Though the disease remains localized to the primary site, sometimes, radiotherapy to the brain is also considered.
Preventive Measures Have a healthy diet with high protein and high fibre content. Overall, one should adopt a healthy lifestyle and take utmost care of self-hygiene.
A high protein diet helps during the chemo treatment
Aerobics helps build muscle mass lost due to the cancer