Oncologists and hospitals treating cancer should focus on prevention and cure, said former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who inaugurated a two-day cancer conclave organised by Apollo Hospitals on Friday.

He urged Apollo Hospitals to ‘mount a joint programme with the government and teach about lifestyle and cancer prevention at the school level.’

“Confidence is very important,” he told the specialists, urging each of them to take a personal oath to cure at least 100 patients. Medicine had undergone a shift with research, he said.

He said two of his friends who had blood cancer had the courage to relentlessly pursue life. “Life of a cancer patient is a process of adjustment. Medical practitioners can take a lead from them (in treating them),” he said.

While doctors treated the physiological problem, Mr. Kalam said they must focus on the psychological aspect too. A pilot study funded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation had shown that 40 per cent of cancer patients experienced moderate to severe distress. He urged the participants at the conclave to focus on recent advances in research in oncology. Apollo Hospitals’ chairman Prathap C. Reddy said knowledge transmission using technology would be one of their big efforts.

The hospital had embarked on a project called ‘Total health’ which aimed at covering the entire district, with a population of 1.3 million.

He urged the delegates to deliberate and come up with ideas that healthcare providers, captains of industry and the civil society could adopt to bring the disease under control.

Dr. Reddy said Apollo Hospitals had eight cancer treatment centres in the country and aimed to expand it to provide state-of-the-art care to its patients.

Mr. Kalam presented mementos to six women, all cancer survivors. The conclave was attended by oncologists and cancer researchers.

More In: Chennai | News