At the awareness rallies and public events conducted a day ahead of World Cancer Day, the message was prevention and early detection of cancer.

On Sunday morning, three hundred students of medicine, nursing and pharmacy from Madras Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) walked from Madras Medical College through Evening Bazaar Road, Frazer Bridge Road and EVR Salai to create awareness on prevention, detection, reduction and management of cancer, said V. Kanagasabai, dean of the GH.

Emphasising that prevention is the key, he said there were about 70,000 new cancer patients in the State every year.

“Consumption of tobacco must be avoided and diet must include fibrous foods. Concentration of salt in food must also be reduced,” he said. Calling for early detection, he said, “Many people tend to ignore a lump or a growth if it is painless. They must give it immediate attention.”

It is a myth, he said, that cancer is life-threatening. “There are several procedures and medications available today,” he said, adding that GH will soon get a linear accelerator which would, among other things, minimise side-effects due to radiation.

The hospital, he said, would organise an interaction with patients at 10 a.m. on Monday in the patient waiting hall to clarify doubts and debunk myths and fears associated with the illness.

Earlier in the morning, CAN-STOP organised an awareness walk in IIT-Madras to spread the message among youngsters. Vijaya Bharathi Rangarajan, founder, CAN-STOP, said cancer survivors participated in the walk on Sunday. They need continuous support, she said.

According to R. Dhanalakshmi, medical social worker, CAN-STOP, the walk saw participation from 1,800 persons from 21 educational institutions and several corporate firms.

If CAN-STOP targeted the youth, Vasantha Memorial Trust wanted to catch them even younger. They organised a painting competition for children on the theme.

Ramanathan Jayaraman, oncologist and managing trustee, Vasantha Memorial Trust, said 251 children participated in the competition.

“The perils of smoking, and consuming alcohol were among the themes and we also had a talk with parents on 10 steps to prevent cancer,” he said.

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