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Indian Journal of Cancer
Medknow Publications on behalf of Indian Cancer Society
ISSN: 0019-509X EISSN: 1998-4774
Vol. 46, Num. 4, 2009, pp. 340-340

Indian Journal of Cancer, Vol. 46, No. 4, October-December, 2009, pp. 340

Letter To Editor

Cancer control in India- A sorry state

Department of Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi
Correspondence Address:Department of Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi

Code Number: cn09079

PMID: 19749468
DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.55557


The study by Somdatta et al. is an eye opener. [1] Even as the west is trying to detect breast cancer as early as possible using self examination of breast, we in India are still tackling a gross lack of awareness about even the existence of disease. Even more distressing is the prevalent belief regarding breast feeding being responsible for breast cancer. Studies have documented an even greater lack of awareness as also the lack of screening for cervical carcinoma in India. [2] Situation is no different for other cancers including tobacco related tumours.

Even as India continues to battle infectious diseases, focus should not be lost of the cancer related morbidity and mortality. The problems vis-a-vis India are multifold- an acute lack of awareness amongst community, self-neglect and late presentation, prevalence of alternative systems and quacks, prevalent tobacco use, poverty and resource crunch. This calls for a complete overhaul of the national cancer control programme with strong emphasis on primary prevention of major cancers in the country. There is a dire need to educate the general public about the common presentations and the need for early treatment. This can be through involvement of mass media including television, radio and the print media. Other health programmes like the Reproductive and child health programme etc can be utilised as opportunities to educate the public about presentation and early detection of cancers. As has been mentioned, community based educational interventions can increase community awareness about cancer and can yield a positive change in practice of strategy for early detection of cancer. [3] Tobacco related legislation should be implemented in letter and spirit as tobacco is singularly responsible for more than half of cancer related mortality. The youth of the nation, including the school children should be educated about cancers and the causative factors like tobacco. As far as prevention of cancer related mortality is concerned, awareness is life.


1.Somdatta P, Baridalyne N. Awareness of breast cancer in women of an urban resettlement colony. Indian J Cancer 2008;45:91-5.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Roy B, Tang TS. Cervical cancer screening in Kolkata, India: Beliefs and predictors of cervical cancer screening among women attending a women's health clinic in Kolkata, India. J Cancer Educ 2008;23:253-9.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Rao RS, Nair S, Nair NS, Kamath VG. Acceptability and effectiveness of a breast health awareness programme for rural women in India. Indian J Med Sci 2005;59:398-402.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  Medknow Journal

Copyright 2009 - Indian Journal of Cancer

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