Cancer Awareness …What can be done?

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India
While much has been done to control cancer………a lot still needs to be done.
  • Cancer should be declared as a ‘Notifiable Disease.’ Cancer notification will help reporting, detection, diagnosis confirmation, early therapeutic intervention and arranging remedial measures wherever therapeutics/ expertise are not available.
  • Cancer should be included in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) similar to the Govt.’s initiative to add lifestyle–related disease in NRHM.
  • The National Cancer Calendar should be zealously observed to focus cancer awareness on new and old problems that exist in our society that are related to cancers in Indian women, senior citizens, children, youth and middle–aged. These problems include Tobacco, HIV/AIDS, western lifestyles, freedom in sexual relations, depleting ozone layer, and atmospheric pollution. Educating people about Self Examination is an important part of cancer control. Such continuous and round–the–year cancer awareness though the National Cancer Calendar will leave deeper impact on the literate and illiterate population as well as those at the helm of policymaking about cancer.
  • Hepatitis B and HPV vaccination of the at–risk population can prevent most cancer in this population. Promotion of vaccination and reducing the cost of vaccines are thus the need of the hour.
  • New regional cancer centers should be set up and the existing regional cancer centers should be further strengthened and upgraded that are within reach to people who do not have access to these facilities in their areas. This would also take care of follow up of patients, which is an important part of cancer control.
  • More Centers of Excellence should initiate DM and M.Ch and integrated MD Radiotherapy courses, Integrated Postgraduation for oncological sciences M.Sc/DNB courses in Medical Physics. More trained doctors would be available to provide comprehensive cancer care.
  • Oncology as a clinical science should be introduced in the Undergraduate syllabi of MBBS, BAMS, BUMS and BHMS
  • The reach of the television media today is tremendous. This should be utilized to the full and they should be involved in creating more cancer-related programs that are more oriented towards prevention of cancer.
  • Stronger enforcement of tobacco, alcohol and food legislation
  • Improving the standards of cancer research to improve the understanding of cancer biology and development of more effective cancer treatment options.

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