The Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research and Education (PGIMR) at Chandigarh observed Tuesday as National Cancer Awareness Day, organizing a poster exhibition as well as a public lecture.
The PGI Director, Dr. K.K. Talwar, stated that this program was an attempt to educate the public about the early detection and prevention of cancer. He said, "Prevention is ideal but early detection is most important for achieving cure of different cancers."
According to the PGI Dean Dr. V. Sakhuja, some of the important factors that cause cancers include tobacco, which he asserted was responsible for nearly one-third of all the cancers and almost 50 per cent of the cancers in males. He said, "Tobacco causes cancers of mouth, lung, larynx and esophagus. Control of the tobacco menace could prevent large number of cancers in India."
Dr. F.D. Patel, Professor in the Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, lectured on the prevention and early detection of breast cancer and cancer of the cervix, two common cancers among women in India. She related several pre-disposing factors towards these cancers.
Dr Patel said, "Cancer of the cervix is commonest among women of low socio-economic status and results from poor hygiene, infection, early sexual activity, early marriage and a large number of children. Cancer of the breast, which is the second commonest among females, is related to un-opposed action of estrogen - a hormone produced in the body. It is also common among women who have an early menarchy and a late menopause and it is also related to diet rich in fat."
According to Dr. Patel both these cancers were preventable and could be cured in over 80 per cent of the cases if detected early. Therefore the importance of screening for these cancers was underlined only further. Several warning signs of early cancer and methods for early detection were listed in her speech.