An estimated 19.3 million new cases and 10 million cancer deaths were reported worldwide in 2020. In fact, cancer has become a leading cause of death in many countries. Although there are 36 types of cancers, the three highly prevalent cancers in the context of India are oral cancer in males and breast cancer and cervical cancer in women. Dr. B R Ambedkar Center, Delhi School of Public Health and Acharya Narendra Dev College of the University of Delhi have started CANCER AWARENESS PROGRAM. This program is funded by S&T Communication on “Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine (STEMM) –India Initiative” (Bharat Vigyan Darshan), NCSTC-DST to Prof Daman Saluja (Director, ACBR and Jt Director DSPH) and Dr Sunita Jetley Associate Professor, Dept of Biomedical Sciences, ANDC, University of Delhi. Prof Daman Saluja and Dr Sunita Jaitley along with the help of the social workers in the concerned area, NGOs, qualified physicians of leading hospitals etc are conducting a community outreach program in Delhi and NCR region. The project envisages creating awareness in the general public about the importance of prevention of cancer (e.g., Oral and lung cancer by stopping smoking, chewing tobacco, chewing betel nuts), the importance of early diagnosis (for example for breast cancer by self-examination and cervical cancer by annual PAP smear test).
Awareness will be created by taking the initiative to mitigate and eradicate this problem in a multi-dimensional approach. It is imperative to communicate that cancer can be cured if diagnosed early and can be prevented by changing habits. It requires a multi-pronged approach and each one of us needs to understand the concept of ‘One Health Approach’.
Since April 1st, 2022 the team has already conducted four such camps in Delhi-NCR where people from the low-income group were told about cancer, how to do self-examination for early detection of Breast cancer as well as the steps to prevent onset of cancer. In addition, two online webinars have been conducted to educate the college students, faculty and staff.
The main idea is to increase the general public’s understanding about cancer and how it can be prevented or diagnosed at an early stage and emphasize the concept of ‘One Health Approach’ through blended learning and organizing awareness campaigns. This will bridge the gap between physicians and society and emphasize “diagnosis and treatment of cancer”. We plan to undertake steps to encourage women to go for regular check-ups for cervical and breast cancer and males for mouth cancer, especially those who smoke and chew tobacco and betel nuts. Documentaries and posters on the ill effects of smoking and chewing betel nuts of different types are being prepared and showcased to the general public. In addition debates, poster competitions will help college students to become more aware of cancer, its cause, and prevention methods.