"Prevention is ideal but early detection is most important for achieving cure of different cancers," was the message. The Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research and Education (PGIMR) observed National Cancer Awareness Day on Tuesday. The National Cancer Control Programme that started in 1984 organised a poster exhibition and a public lecture.
The PGI Director, Dr. K.K. Talwar, said, "The endeavour should be to educate the public about the early detection and prevention of cancer."
Dean Dr V. Sakhuja emphasized the key factors that caused different types of cancer. According to him 1/3rds of all cancers is caused by tobacco and is responsible for nearly 50% of the cancer in men.
"Tobacco causes cancers of mouth, lung, larynx and esophagus. Control of the tobacco menace could prevent large number of cancers in India," he asserted.
A lecture on prevention and early detection of cancers of the breast and cervix was presented by Dr. F.D. Patel, Professor in the Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology. Breast cancer and cervical cancer are the 2 commonly occurring cancers in Indian women.
"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 menarche and a late menopause and it is also related to diet rich in fat."
Dr. Patel said, "Both these cancers are preventable and can be cured in more than 80 per cent of the cases if these are detected early. Hence, screening for these cancers is very vital. " She talked about several warning signs and early detection methods for cancer.
In India, around 7-8 lakh new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year. Cancer has become the sixth most common cause of human death.