GUWAHATI, Feb 4 - In Assam, 32,000 cancer cases are detected every year, of which 70 per cent are found at an advanced stage, leading to a high mortality rate of 40-50 per cent, stated the Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF) in a statement here today.
ACCF, a joint partnership between the Government of Assam and Tata Trusts, was set up in December 2017 to create a first-of-its-kind, three-level cancer grid in the State, organised a number of awareness activities in many parts of the State on the occasion of World Cancer Day today.
ACCF further said in its statement that 50 per cent of all cancers in Assam are caused due to consumption of tobacco in some form or the other.
The highlights of ACCF’s World Cancer Day observance included ‘Pledge for Action’ campaign in 10 public locations in Guwahati including inter-college poster competition, interview of cancer survivors and screening of common cancers in Barpeta, Kamrup, Jorhat, Nagaon and Dibrugarh districts.
ACCF, which is also working on tobacco control, early detection, treatment and palliative care, in its statement said that common cancers of breast, uterine cervix and oral cavity are preventable and curable if detected and treated at an early stage.
Dr Nirmal Kumar Hazarika, medical advisor to ACCF, in the statement said, “Today is World Cancer Day, the only day on global health calendar where we can all unite and rally under one banner of ‘Cancer’ in a positive and inspiring way. The theme for the year 2019 ‘I am and I will’ appeals to all of us to extend our support to cancer patients by promising to be with them today and always. They and their families need to improve the quality of life free from the problems associated with cancer.”
Another cancer surgeon Dr Ashok Das from Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, said, “Tobacco is the major culprit for cancers in Assam with 48.2 per cent people consuming tobacco in some form or the other. I see younger patients in our hospital. Prevention of tobacco use is the best way to reduce the incidence of cancer in the State.”
According to ACCF, modern medicine has evolved a disease-oriented approach, in which suffering is given less attention than the effort to conquer the disease. In the context of cancer, palliative medicine offers a model of care that is based on the control of the disease and its symptoms coupled with psycho-social and spiritual support.
Meanwhile, in order to sensitise people on palliative care, a panel discussion was organised by ACCF today with experts and informative leaflets were distributed at the State Cancer Institute here and at the ACCF Palliative Care Unit-AMC, Dibrugarh.
Cancer Day at BBCI: World Cancer Day was observed at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute today on the occasion of which a public meeting was held at the institute.
Ruby Ahluwalia from Sanjeevani, Mumbai attended the meeting as guest of honour. Dipak Kumar, Regional Director of National Service Scheme and Saurav Chaliha, General Manager, Guwahati Refinery attended the meeting as distinguished guests.
According to Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of BBCI, “Media and informed citizens can play a vital role in raising awareness on cancer. The high incidence of cancer in the North East along with poor survival rates of cancer patients from the region in comparison to the rest of the country means a lot is yet to be done. One-third of all cancers can be prevented, one-third require palliative care and-one third of cancers can be cured. Such a message can dispel myths associated with cancer.”
MP Agarwal was felicitated by Dr Kataki for donating Rs 1 lakh to support treatment of poor cancer patients. Agarwal is the founder trustee of Sanskriti Gurukul School.
Ahluwalia, who is an Indian Revenue Service officer and cancer survivor, said, “While going through the long course of cancer treatment, I realised how important emotional support is for the patient, more than anything. Thus, I started this organisation to provide handholding and counselling to cancer patients.”
A cancer survivors group was formally launched to mark the observance of World Cancer Day. The group is being led by Dr Ashok Kumar Das.
Cancer Day at city college: Karmashree Hiteswar Saikia College observed World Cancer Day in collaboration with ACCF. A poster-making competition was held where over 30 students of the college took part. Kabita Patgiri, Aditi Bashyas, RK Lili Sana, Abu Taleb Jahingir Alam and Chayanika Ray were the first five winners in the competition.