Eight lakh people die of cancer in India every year

Doctors, including oncologists, expressed concern over reluctance of people to go for cancer screening despite several appeals not to have misconceptions.

At the 17th annual conference of Association of Medical Physicists of India, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Chapter, in Madurai on Saturday, it was stressed that early detection was important in cancer treatment, and there need not be nay fear of getting diagnosed.

Talking to reporters, Rohini Sridhar, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Medical Services, Apollo Speciality Hospitals, said that cancer was detected only at an advanced stage, making it difficult for giving treatment.

At cancer screening camps, the turnout was low whereas for heart and orthopaedic camps it was high. Cancer was curable if detected early. Women must go for mammography to rule out breast cancer. People must realise that technological advancements in oncology had made it possible for cure only if cancer was detected at an early stage.

G. Amarnath, radiation oncologist and conference chairman, said that there were 25 lakh cancer patients in India, and 10 lakh more added every year. Every year eight lakh people were dying due to cancer. The government must start more regional cancer centres so that people in rural areas also could be covered. Also, the excise duty on radiation equipment should be waived so that private hospitals could afford to buy them.

M. Sivamuthukumar, association secretary, said that physicists had an important role in diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Medical physics was crucial in radio-diagnosis, radiation therapy, and nuclear medicine.

The two-day conference was attended by 250 delegates. It had paper presentations and lectures by eminent medical physicists.

N. Mohan, Dean, Government Rajaji Hospital, and B.K. Tyagi, Director, Centre for Research in Medical Entomology, Madurai, were among those present.

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