Unmask cancer initiative launched

Unmask Cancer aims to dispel myths about the disease

February 03, 2024 12:59 am | Updated 12:59 am IST - CHENNAI

Apollo Cancer Centres has launched ‘Unmask Cancer’, an initiative to eliminate stigma and discrimination, its director of breast, head and neck cancer, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, Sapna Nangia said in Chennai on Friday.

Ramya Uppuluriri, consultant paediatric hematology oncology, who treated Lithin, a boy who had grade 4 meduloblastoma, said there were several myths about cancer – that parents are guilty of causing cancer in their children; cancer is contagious and genetic; diet can cause cancer; side effects of treatment are painful; and that cancer could only lead to death.  

Naveena Kasi, Lithin’s mother, said she had endured stigma, discrimination and pity. “Hiding my son’s cancer history due to fear of discrimination was a burden we carried for years,” she said. 

Dr. Uppuluriri said lower than 5% of childhood cancers are genetic and more than 90% of cancers are curable. Cancer is not contagious. The initiative would dispel the myths, she hoped.  

At the launch Harshad Reddy, director, group oncology and international, Apollo hospital enterprises said, “We believe in championing the rights of every individual, irrespective of their medical history.” 

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