GURGAON: Today, cancer is a common household word, because of greater awareness about the disease. In India, there is also a perception that cancer incidence is on the increase; and a hope that perhaps with the advances in technology, cancer is diagnosed more frequently, maybe a change in our attitude and approach, the myths associated with cancer are vanishing and we are more open to accepting cancer diagnosis and discussing the disease more openly. India has almost one crores cancer patients, and the situation is likely to worsen with an expected 20 per cent jump in the number of cancer cases by the end of this decade.
According to the World Health Organization, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer, and is the second highest cause of female cancer mortality worldwide with 2.88 lakh deaths annually. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and accounts for about 30% of all cancers affecting women in Indian cities. According to GLOBOCAN (WHO), an estimated 70,218 women died in India due to breast cancer, more than any other country in the world, with China being the second country reporting 47,984 deaths followed by USA where 43,909 deaths was reported. It is unforgivable to allow women to die from preventable ailments. Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancers can be treated once detected early. Women who are informed about their risks and medical care available to them often seek medical checkups and increase the chance of detecting potentially harmful tumors early. Women in India are reluctant to discuss problems openly with their family due to the fear of cultural and social stigma attached to it.
World Healthal Trust (WHT) in collaboration with DLF Foundation, conducted four Awareness camps, under the campaign ‘DLF-WHT Cancer Awareness and Screening Camps’ for the adolescent girls and women of Sakapur, Nawada Fatehpur, Hayatpur and Shikohpur Village of Gurgaon. The aim was to educate people about the four types of cancers that commonly affect women, particularly cervical and breast cancer. The aim of the campaign was detection, early treatment and prevention.2000 pamphlets were also distributed in the village households besides putting up several banners in the near-by areas to promote maximum participation for the event.
The awareness project aims to provide people with information, resources and assistance to find convenient access to services and programmes for prevention and early detection of cancer. With the alarming speed at which cancer is spreading across the nation, there is a need to educate people about the importance of early screening of cancer so as to ensure that the disease is nipped in the bud. We believe that the campaign that DLF Foundation and World Health Trust have initiated will help curb this health menace. The main objective of the campaign is to set up an outreach centre in the DLF –PHC to assess the general health status of the people in the villages of Gurgaon. The campaign aims to reduce the toll of cervical and breast cancer while creating awareness among the rural population.
The focus is also to empower women in the rural populations with information on reproductive health concerns. It was felt that there is a need to periodically conduct cancer awareness programmes in such underprivileged areas. Most importantly, clubbing awareness programmes with on-site screening of cervical and breast cancers would greatly benefit those women who have never had a diagnostic test for these cancers done before, as suspect cases of these cancers can be easily detected by simple, cost-effective techniques.
Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world. World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer. World Cancer Day is a very special yearly occasion to raise awareness in our country about the reality of cancer. Participating in World Cancer Day is an important duty, and by taking part in it, each one of us in our own way plays a critical role. In many places throughout the world, cancer is still associated with terrible social stigmas. Changing this perception and changing the image of cancer is a key factor in the success in our long fight against this disease.
(Author LT GEN RAJENDER SINGH, PVSM, SM, VSM (Retd) is CEO of DLF Foundation)
India CSR News Network