Although incidence of cancer was growing as a major health problem, early detection and treatment could ensure cure.

It is a misconception that cancer is incurable and the myth should be dispelled as 60 per cent of cancer cases are preventable and curable. Health planners should spread the message to remove the fear among the masses, observed V.Shantha, Chairperson, the Cancer Institute, Adyar.

Although incidence of cancer was growing as a major health problem, early detection and treatment could ensure cure. Prevention, especially at the primary level by curbing known causes such as the use of tobacco is also vital, she said.

Dr.Shantha was speaking at a function to mark the dedication of a mammobus, donated jointly by The Rotary Foundation, Rotary Districts 3000 and 7620 and Rotary Club of Rockville, USA, to the Dr.K.Shantha Breast Cancer Foundation, Tiruchi, here on Saturday. While incidence of cervical cancer was at top in the country in 1984, breast cancer now ranks high, especially in urban areas.

High fat diet, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and hormonal factors increased the risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer, when detected in the pre-cancer and early stages, can be cured, she said.

Rs.30 lakhs

Collector Jayashree Muralidharan emphasised the importance of sensitising women and allaying theirs fears, including apprehensions about undergoing screening. Pledging support of the district administration to the mammobus initiative, Ms.Muralidharan appealed to the organisers to send the bus to rural areas and medical camps organised by the district authorities for screening women. K.R.Ravindran, former trustee, The Rotary Foundation, observed that the foundation was happy to support a project that would help save the lives of people.

The mammobus, costing Rs.30 lakhs, is equipped with a mammogram – an X-ray device specially designed for breast cancer screening, ultra sound scanner of the breast, allied equipment and technicians, apart from audio visual aids to create awareness. Those undergoing mammography would be charged Rs.500 for screening both breasts on cost-to-cost basis.

Eight districts

The mammobus would be stationed in Tiruchi and travel to urban and rural areas in Rotary District 3000 covering eight districts, screening women and spreading awareness, especially on early detection of breast cancer, said Dr.K.N.Srinivasan of Rotary Club of Srirangam, which conceived the project.

The American Tamil Medical Association has also donated for the project.

K.Kumanan, District Governor, Rotary District 3000, T.Valliappan, past district governor, Dr.M.S.Ashraf, and K.Govindaraj, Managing Trustee, Dr.K.Shantha Breast Cancer Foundation, were present.