BHUBANESWAR: With cancer incidence and consequent mortality rising alarmingly in the State, the Government has decided to launch an aggressive campaign for educating people on critical signs and symptoms of the disease on November 7, which is to be observed as the National Cancer Awareness Day.
The State Health Department and National Programme for prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) will host special camps in all the districts to screen people for cancer. Special OPDs will be held at all the 30 district headquarter hospitals (DHHs), three medical college and hospitals and Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC) for screening the public. Those with suspected signs or symptoms will be referred to the tertiary hospital for further diagnosis and treatment if confirmed.
The objective is to make people aware of the disease and encourage them to report to doctors or medical centres if they suspect something. Early detection is key to cancer cure. With advancement of medicine, most of the cancers are curable provided they are diagnosed early. However, people are not coming forward due to ignorance and deep rooted fear that the disease is incurable, nodal officer, NPCDCS Odisha Dr PKB Patnaik said.
While cancer incidence is rising menacingly, the major concern is most of the cases are diagnosed in advanced stages. Though there is no specific data, it is estimated that more than 50,000 new cancer patients are added every year with over 70 per cent in advanced stages beyond cure. Head and neck cancer, oral, stomach, oesophagus, bowel cancer and leukaemia are major forms of cancers among men while breast, cervix and ovarian cancers are leading among women.
“We have to free people from the fear and stigma of cancer through awareness and education. If they know the vital signs and symptoms, they will report for medical care and can be diagnosed early. An aware population will lead to combating high cancer related mortality in the State”, Dr Patnaik explained.
Along with screening camps, special cancer workshops will also be held in the districts for updating knowledge of doctors in peripheral hospitals and grassroots along with nurses and paramedical staff. This will help in better and effective detection exercise at the lowest level.