Noting that five lakh deaths occur due to cancer every year in the country, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on June 28, 2018 stressed the need to create greater awareness on issues like leading sedentary lifestyle and urged people to stop eating junk foods.
“There are about 30 lakh cases of cancer at any particular point of time with 10 lakh new cases occurring every year. About five lakh deaths occur annually in the country due tocancer,” he said at the inauguration of the State Cancer Institute Block at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology.
Referring to an estimate by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 2016, Naidu said by 2020, the number of new cases of cancer may touch 17.3 lakh and deaths due to it may reach 8.8 lakh.
Ironically, only 12.5 per cent of patients come for treatment in the early stages of the disease, he noted.
The vice president also highlighted that breast cancer was the most common among women, while the cases of mouth cancer was highest among men. Quoting data from the National Cancer Registry Programme of ICMR, Naidu said on an average one among every 15 men and one among every 12 women in the urban centres could develop cancer in their life time.
“It is important, therefore, to create greater awareness on the dangers of pollution, obesity, harmful use of tobacco, betel nuts and alcohol; leading sedentary lifestyle, eating junk and other foods linked to cancer.
“It is also equally important to take up periodic screening of people, especially those at risk of developing cancer,” Naidu said.
He pointed out that the genetic make-up of an individual, environment, dietary habits, hygiene and the modern day lifestyle are affecting the health of individuals.
Naidu also urged people to give up junk food and switch to time tested traditional food, which people had been eating for thousands of years, for, they are not only tasty but also suitable for body.
Lauding the Kidwai Cancer Institute for having emerged as the premiere regional cancer cure centre, Naidu emphasised upon keeping pace with latest advances in the field and urged the faculties and staff to treat patients in a way that they get world class treatment in a humane and caring environment.
“Beyond the physical infrastructure and equipment, what is crucial is the communication with the patients. Especially with a dreaded disease like cancer the patients and the families need comfort.
They need palliative care and more importantly kind words that make the pain bearable,” Naidu said.
Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology was founded in June 1973 and has been named after Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, who was the first information minister in the cabinet of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
He had gifted 20 acres of land and Rs one lakh for setting up the institute.