Awareness, regular check-ups and screening crucial in dealing with Cancer: Vice President

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concern over the increasing cancer cases in the county and called for establishing more affordable cancer treatment centres to provide preventive, curative and palliative care programmes. He was interacting with the Scientists, Staff & Faculty members of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre & Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Vishakhapattanam, Andhra Pradesh today.

The Vice President said that increased use of tobacco is one of the main causes for increase of cancer in India. He further said that India contributes to nearly 60 per cent of head and neck cancer patients worldwide and the number is expected to be double by 2030. This is really a worrisome trend and concrete steps need to be taken arrest this trend, he added.

The Vice President said that increase in incidence of cancer is a major concern and said that it is posing a serious challenge to healthcare providers in the country. He further said that a majority of the cancers are being detected in advanced stages for the simple reason that most of the patients are not presenting themselves early. It should be noted that many developed countries, including Europe and the U.S.A have shown reduction in cancer spread due to effective screening programmes, he added.

The Vice President called on those involved in cancer care to take measures to reverse the trend by creating awareness among the people on the need for regular medical check-ups and screening. Awareness in general population about the big C will help in early diagnosis, he added.

The Vice President also highlighted on the need to step up facilities both in urban and rural India so that people get to know the status of their health and take timely treatment such as providing mobile screening vans. He further said that one of the major concerns for all stakeholders involved in healthcare sector is the huge of cost cancer treatment. The treatment costs have to be brought down drastically and this is where institutions like BARC can play a vital role by developing low-cost technologies and equipments, he added.

The Vice President appreciated the vision of the Department of Atomic Energy for promoting safe, secure and sustainable nuclear energy through global partnership. He further said that climate change is the foremost global environmental concern and stressed on the need to avoid conflict with nature by exploiting it too much.

Saying that India must adopt, safe, environment-friendly approach for energy generation, the Vice President said that the country can learn from those who have made advancements in the field but make efforts to bring down the cost, especially in Nuclear Energy. Nuclear electricity is generated through very low carbon emitting technologies and can significantly reduce emission of Green House Gases, he added.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“I am delighted to interact with Scientists, Staff & Faculty members of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) & Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Visakhapatnam today.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha was a great nuclear physicist and visionary, who made important contributions to quantum theory and cosmic radiation and made India proud. Known as the father of Indian nuclear programme, he has given the fillip to the India’s Nuclear Power Programme.

Today climate change is the foremost global environmental concern. Nuclear electricity is generated through very low carbon emitting technologies and can significantly reduce emission of Green House Gases. It is considered to be safe, environmental friendly, sustainable, reliable, efficient and economically viable source of electrical energy. It has the potential to meet the ever-increasing demands of energy in the country, especially at time when we as a nation are making attempts to move beyond the polluting fossil fuels.

I am told that 22 nuclear reactors are operational with total installed capacity of 6,780 MW in India today. Earlier, the Union Cabinet has approved fleet-mode construction of 10 indigenous nuclear reactors for addition of 7000 MW (700MWx10) to the installed capacity. This will give a major boost to domestic nuclear industry.

Besides, what is of significance is the pioneering work done by Indian scientists in the development of 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), which forms a major element in India’s three-stage nuclear power programme.

I appreciate the vision of the Department of Atomic Energy to promote safe, secure and sustainable nuclear energy through global partnership. We need to learn from those who have made advancements in the field but make efforts to bring down the cost.

Nuclear Medicine has seen a significant growth in India, particularly with the use of artificially produced radioisotopes for diagnostic, therapeutic and investigative purposes.

I was informed that over 75 radioisotopes are produced for various applications and more than10 Lakh patients are benefitted annually across 120 Nuclear Medicine Centres and over 400 radioimmunoassay labs. DHRUVA Reactor at BARC for medical isotope production ran at highest capacity in 2016-17.

I am also extremely pleased to know that BARC has developed a process to extract Caesium isotope from liquid nuclear waste for making glass pencils used in blood purification devices. I am told that it is the first of its kind in the world and India is the only country to have this technology in commercial domain. My compliments to scientists who have developed this technology

Cancer

Dear Friends, it is indeed a matter of serious concern for all of us that the incidence of cancer is increasing steadily and posing a serious challenge to healthcare providers in the country. While the central and various state governments are taking various initiatives including setting up of cancer care facilities, the country needs more exclusive cancer treatment centres to provide preventive, curative and palliative care programmes to cancer patients.

I am happy to learn that the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre is making efforts to make cancer care affordable. I was informed about their efforts in places like Visakhapatnam, Mohali, Guwahati, Varanasi, Kolkata and several other places through National Cancer Grid. The Grid which is one of the largest cancer networks in the world connects cancer centres, research institutes, patient groups and NGOs in 137 locations across India.

According “India against Cancer” an initiative conceived by a group of medical doctors and researchers at the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR), one woman dies of cervical cancer every 8 minutes in India. For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India.

As many as 2,500 persons die every day due to tobacco-related diseases in India. Smoking alone accounts for 1 in 5 deaths among men and 1 in 20 deaths among women, accounting for an estimated 9,30,000 deaths in 2010 .

The top five cancers in men and women account for 47.2% of all cancers and these cancers can be treated if they are detected early and treated at an early stage. This could significantly reduce the death rate from these cancers.

According to The Indian Council of Medical Research, approximately 12 to 13 lakh new cases of cancer are being diagnosed every year along with an existing 25 to 30 lakh cancer cases at any given time in India.

It is very sad that a majority of the cancers are being detected in advanced stages for the simple reason that most of the patients are not presenting themselves early. This situation needs to be reversed by creating awareness among the people on the need for regular medical check-ups and screening.Awareness in general population about the big ‘C’ will help in early diagnosis.

It should be noted that many developed countries, including Europe and the U.S.A have shown reduction in cancer spread due to effective screening programmes.

We need to step up facilities both in urban and rural India so that people get to know the status of their health and take timely treatment. This can be done through mobile screening vans.

Various factors, including modern lifestyle and increase in life expectancy have also exposed the population to greater cancer risks.

Increased use of tobacco is one of the main causes for increase of cancer in India. Research says that India contributes to nearly 60 per cent of head and neck cancer patients worldwide and the number is expected to double by 2030. This is really a worrisome trend and concrete steps need to be taken arrest this trend.

Dear sisters and brothers, one of the major concerns for all stakeholders involved in healthcare sector is the huge of cost cancer treatment. The treatment costs have to be brought down drastically and this is where institutions like BARC can play a vital role by developing low-cost technologies and equipments.

My best wishes to all of you for future endeavours.

JAI HIND!”

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AKT/BK/RK

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