Mumbai: Cancer screening after a certain age should be made mandatory in the country, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said and asked researchers to make path-breaking advances in cancer prevention and treatment.
Addressing a graduation ceremony at the Tata Memorial Centre here, he also called for greater emphasis on inventing strategies in the battle against cancer.
“Two-thirds of advanced cancer cases are preventable.
Therefore, early detection and treatment are the need of the hour. The government should make it mandatory after a particular age for cancer screening. A healthy nation can become (a) wealthy nation,” Naidu said.
“We should educate and spread awareness about early detection and prevention of cancer,” he said.
Quoting the Indian Council of Medical Research data, Naidu said, “In 2016, the total number of new cancer cases was expected to be around 14.5 lakh and the figure is likely to reach nearly 17.3 lakh new cases in 2020. Over 7.36 lakh people were expected to succumb to the disease in 2016 while the figure is estimated to shoot up to 8.8 lakh by 2020.”
The data also revealed that only 12.5 percent of patients come for treatment at early stages of the disease, Naidu said, adding among women, breast cancer topped the list, while it was mouth cancer among men.
“According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, in India during 2016-17, around 19 percent of men, 12.8 percent of women and 21.4 percent of all adults smoke tobacco and 42.4 percent of men, 14.2 percent of women and 28.6 percent of all adults either smoke tobacco and or use smokeless tobacco,” the vice president said.
Naidu underlined the importance of Ayurveda to the graduating students, saying, “Medical students should try to explore if ancient Indian medical systems like Ayurveda, can offer some alternative solutions on cancer treatment.”
According to some scholars, cancer treatment with Ayurveda goes back to seventh century BC, where Atreya and Dhanwanthari used herbal medicines for treating early stages of cancer, he said.
“We should see if there are some indigenous cost-effective solutions that may be useful for making cancer treatment more affordable,” Naidu said.
The vice president said, “People should go back to their roots, especially the way we live and the way we think.”
Awareness must be created, particularly among the youngsters, on the need to lead healthy lifestyles and avoid consumption of junk food, he said.
Naidu also touched on the need to increase palliative care centers in the country.
He asked doctors and medical students to spread awareness on the need to observe personal hygiene and maintain sanitation.
Lack of personal hygiene causes infections like HPV, which, in turn, has the potential to cause cancer of the cervix, Naidu said.
Yoga training should be imparted to students as part of ensuring healthy lifestyles, he said, adding yoga is a holistic approach to healthy living and there is evidence that it enhances the well being and quality of life.