Need to create awareness for cancer screening to save lives: RGCIRC

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Early detection of cancer makes the treatment far more easier and survival rates are very high, stated experts from Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC), New Delhi. Dr. L M Darlong  and Dr Chaturbhuj Agrawal were in Sri Ganganagar to  hold an interaction with local doctors under continuing medical education (CME) programme.

“Rising level of pollution has led to an increase in the incidence of lung cancer and it is no longer only a smoker’s disease. Even young patients are falling prey to it. Unfortunately a majority of patients report in the last stage of the cancer. As a result, lung cancer has become the leading cause of cancer deaths in India, higher than the combined mortality of breast, prostate and colon cancers”, said Dr L M Darlong, Senior Consultant & Head – Thoracic Surgical Oncology at RGCIRC.

Speaking on the need for early screening, Dr Darlong said, “Lung cancer screening is very important and can be a life saver. Any cough that does not get cured for 3-4 weeks should be diagnosed.

Unfortunately, lung cancer is confused with tuberculosis in the initial stages. A lot of time gets wasted in wrong treatment and patients reach cancer centres at a late stage. Especially in high risk individuals such as smokers, screening is a must.

Unfortunately only 10% of lung cancer patients report early for treatment. A majority 60-70% report late, he added.

Speaking on the advances in breast cancer management, Dr Chaturbhuj Agrawal, Consultant – Medical Oncology at RGCIRC said, “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. However In case of breast cancer too, most of the patients report late for treatment which affects the survival rate”

“New therapies developed over the last few years have helped us increase survival rate even in stage 4 (last stage) breast cancer cases. In place of chemotherapy, targeted therapy is gaining importance in which medicines are taken orally. Even in stage 4 cases, now we have survival rate of 38-40% through targeted therapy”, Dr Agrawal added.

The conclave was presided over by Dr Bhupendra Bhutna and Dr Mukesh Mehta, President and Secretary of IMA Shri Ganganagar respectively.