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65,000. That’s the number of children dying from tobacco related illnesses each year.

1.2 Million. That’s the number of non-smoker deaths caused by second hand smoke every year.

8 Million. That’s the number of people tobacco kills every year.

266.8 Million. That’s the number of tobacco users in India.


Consumption of tobacco whether in the form of smoking of cigarettes/beedis or chewing hans/ghutka/kaddipudi/hogesoppu are habit forming and can be very difficult to let go due to the release of an addictive substance called nicotine from these tobacco products.

Nicotine conditions the brain to release a hormone called Dopamine, which makes the body feel good, happy and relaxed. However, the action of nicotine lasts only for approximately two hours, once this begins to wear off, the feel good factors from dopamine wear off too and that brings one back to feeling tired, stressed or lethargic.

When a person tries to stray away from their regular habit, the withdrawal symptoms feel a lot more intense and makes it difficult for one to go about their daily activities. The good news here is that these feelings do not last forever. With the support of family and friends, if you are willing to overcome the first few weeks of cessation, everything begins to get better soon.

Below is a list of withdrawal symptoms that one can expect, we will then guide you with tips to overcome these withdrawal symptoms

  1. Headaches and dizziness – will be at its peak at 48 hours after complete cessation but will gradually reduce and become completely absent by 4 weeks. It is essential to stay hydrated, eat fruits and green leafy vegetables and try some breathing exercise during this period. Enrolling in a physical activity class such as a sport or the gym would be a great idea.

  2. Disturbed sleep – will gradually reduce over 4 weeks. Avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch, stick to a sleeping schedule and try to meditate before going to bed.

  3. Poor concentration – will gradually reduce over 10 weeks. Be patient with yourself, inform your boss/colleagues that you are trying to quit this habit and may find it difficult to be at your best performance level. Taking a walk or doing small exercises every few hours at work will help.

  4. Irritability - will reduce by 4 – 10 weeks – Having a close friend or family to talk to and share the difficulties of your journey will help dealing with the mood swings. For family and friends – please be patient, avoid passing judgement or being too strong with your opinion as this may cause them to rebel and give up. Help them develop confidence in themselves and in you. Avoid confrontations or controversial topics that you suspect may cause some mental unrest as moments of stress result in high craving levels.

  5. Restlessness – will reduce by 4 to 10 weeks – switching tasks and taking regular breaks at work to exercise or practicing few breathing exercises will help one stay relaxed.

  6. Feeling low or depressed/disinterested – will improve over 4 – 10 weeks. Regular exercise for about 45 minutes a day will help release endorphins that can improve one’s mood and general health. It is very important to surround yourself with supportive friends and family who can distract you from these feelings of loneliness and help you overcome this hurdle. Playing games, watching comedy shows, movies and developing a healthy daily routine can help one battle these feelings. Remember, the first 4 weeks are the hardest, if one can resist the urge to give in even for a single puff or packet, the habit can be broken.

  7. Constipation – will improve over 10 weeks. During active tobacco consumption, the bowel movements become dependent on the chemicals released by tobacco products. For bowel movements to return to normal, it is important to maintain a good diet with lots of fibrous fruits and vegetables included. Physical exercise will also help restore normal bodily function. If difficulty in passing stools persist, your doctor may help you with some laxatives to improve bowel movements.

  8. Increased appetite – because nicotine reduces one’s appetite, after cessation, one may feel their appetite has increased, but this is the body’s way of returning to normal. It is thus essential to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine.

  9. Craving – It is important to note that the craving for a cigarette or any other form of tobacco may last up to 10 weeks or more. Some people may never lose the craving but one can always train the mind to have a stronger will power to say NO to this craving. The first few weeks, it will be wise to avoid familiar routine or places of tobacco consumption such as coffee/tea break at work, social events that include drinking alcohol or other tobacco consumers as it may increase the urge. Distracting the mind by talking to a close friend or family member, playing a game or even going for a walk/run are good distraction strategies.

Always remember – the first 2-4 weeks are the hardest. Things get better gradually, surround yourself with supportive people, avoid places/people/events that may trigger the urge and practice a healthy diet and exercise routine.

If you are having difficulty coming up with a plan to quit or making up your mind to quit, contact a tobacco cessation expert who will be able to guide you through the process.

Department of Community Oncology

Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre




The eyes are the most treasured sense organs in humans; these organs provide us a gateway to the world outside of us. Unfortunately in India, every year 1500-2000 children are diagnosed with a cancerous tumour of the eyes– this tumour is called Retinoblastoma. Retinoblastomas are the most common cancer of the eye in children and is generally seen in children below the age of 5 years.


The peculiar feature about this tumour is that the child does not experience any pain or discomfort, the child continues to play and lead a normal life. However, a unique “white glow” or “white eye reflex” can be observed in the affected eyes when a flash photograph of the child is taken.


Some of the other signs of the tumour include:


1. Squinting or deviation of the eyes



2. White halo/mark in the lower part of the eye



3. In advanced cases, there may be protrusion of the eyeball


Ignoring these tumours can lead to permanent blindness and even death. But, early diagnosis can ensure effective treatment is given to the child and save his/her life.

What should a teacher or a parent do if they spot the “white glow” in a child’s eyes?

  • A qualified ophthalmologist (specialist doctor of the eyes) must evaluate the child.

  • The doctor will use special drops to dilate the eyes and view the internal structure of the eye through an ophthalmoscope

  • The doctor will then suggest the next course of action


How is retinoblastoma treated?

  • Early stage retinoblastomas are treated by focal therapy such as laser, cryotherapy, thermotherapy.

  • Chemotherapy may include intravenous or intra-arterial chemotherapy

  • In advanced cases, the affected eye may have to be removed to save the child’s life and this will be followed by chemotherapy and local radiation therapy

  • Following removal of the eyes, a customized prosthetic eye will be placed in the socket, which will allow the child to look completely normal aesthetically.


About the Department of Paediatric & Ophthalmic Oncology at Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre:

The Department of Paediatric Oncology at SSCHRC is a dedicated 60 bedded unit led by an experienced and dynamic paediatric oncologist. Exclusively trained nursing staff, paediatric psychologist, social worker and dietitians support the unit. The Ophthalmic Oncology Surgeon works in close collaboration with a large team of cancer care specialists including paediatric medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, maxillofacial prosthetic rehabilitation specialists and support team. The department ensures each child has access to the latest, evidence based treatment and as part of the Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation’s initiative to reduce childhood cancer mortality, the foundation has so far provided high quality, subsidized or free treatment to over 150 children.

Updated: May 4

Why are precautions important?

The unfortunate outbreak of COVID 19 Pandemic has put tremendous pressure on the world, especially in the healthcare sector. The nature and behaviour of the virus is yet to be thoroughly understood and the rapidly spreading virus has led to more than one lakh deaths across the world. This calls for stringent safety precautions to be taken by every member of the society to save lives.


It is extremely important to note that individuals who are ASYMPTOMATIC – THAT IS, DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS CAN ALSO BE CARRIERS OF THE VIRUS AND SPREAD TO OTHER PEOPLE.


Who is at risk?

All individuals are at potential risk of contracting this infection.

Individuals at high risk of complications are – Senior citizens, patients with diabetes, kidney issues, individuals with previous history of lung diseases, smokers and cancer patients.


Risk for healthcare professionals and hospitals

By not disclosing any potential symptoms or history, you will be putting other patients, their caregivers, doctors, nurses and the entire hospital at risk. Several hospitals have been completely shut down in India, including one in Bangalore, because of this.


We seek your complete and unstinted support in ensuring the safety of all cancer patients over the next few months. For this, the following measures have been taken:


1. Only ONE attender per patient is allowed to visit the hospital. The same attender will have to remain with the patient during the entire period of stay at the hospital.

2. Patients are provided food at the hospital and our hospital canteen is open for caregivers. OUTSIDE FOOD IS NOT ALLOWED.

3. NO VISITORS ALLOWED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. This also includes exchange of patient attenders during the hospital stay. Any violation of this rule will not be tolerated.

4. All patients and caregivers must comply with the screening staff prior to entry into the hospital.

5. Patients have to contact the hospital over telephone for appointment before visiting the hospital.

6. Report to the doctor/hospital administration if:

i) You or any member of your family have come in contact with any person who has been confirmed or suspicious to be COVID Positive

ii) You or any family member have a recent travel history

iii) You or any family member have cough, cold, fever or difficulty in breathing.


COVID 19 Testing

As mentioned, a person may not have any symptoms of a COVID infection but may still be positive for the virus. When such a person undergoes treatment for cancer, their condition may worsen and the entire hospital will be at risk of contracting the infection.

Hence, as per the directions of Government of India, all patients (including those without any symptoms) will be tested for COVID 19 prior to any treatment for cancer. This policy will continue to be effective until it is declared by the Government and Health officials that there are no more community cases of COVID 19.



QUARANTINE GUIDELINES:

1. Stay at home for the period of quarantine; avoid contact with other members of the family who frequently go out including children.

2. Discourage family members from going out unless essential.

3. Discourage friends/relatives from visiting you at home.

4. Frequently wash hands and maintain personal hygiene.`

5. Keep your mind occupied with other indoor activities

6. Avoid using public transport to visit the hospital.



GENERAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:

· Stay at home and limit all your non-essential travel.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

· Do not shake hands.

· Wash hands frequently with soap and clean water. Alcohol based hand-rub may also be used.

· Maintain personal hygiene and always maintain at least one metre distance from others.

· Do not participate in gatherings of any kind.

· If you do come out for any essential work or hospital visit, please follow the steps below:


i) Ring up home on your way back. Someone should keep the front door open (so that you do not have to touch the calling bell or door handle) and a bucket of water with washing soap or bleaching powder added to it, outside the front door.

ii) Keep your belongings in a box outside the door.

iii) Wash your hands in bucket and stand in the water for a few minutes. Meanwhile, use tissue and sanitizer wipe the items in the box. Wash hands once again.

iv) Now enter the house without touching anything, bathroom door is to be kept open by someone and bucket of detergent soap water should be ready. Take off all clothes including innerwear and soak in the bucket.

v) Take a bath with soap and wash hair with shampoo.

vi) Wash clothes / put in washing machine with high temperature setting and dry clothes in direct sunlight.


HELP US TO HELP YOU!

YOU HAVE A MAJOR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS YOUR FAMILY & THE SOCIETY.



We strive to be accessible to all at times of need. In sickness and in health,

we’re here for you and your loved ones.

 

You can reach out to us at:

Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre

 

1st Cross, Shankara Matt Premises, Shankarapuram,

Basavanagudi, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

queries@sschrc.org • 080-26981000 • 080-46484444

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