Governors Anandiben Patel, Najma Heptulla call for fight against breast cancer

Adding their weight to the ongoing efforts of increasing awareness around breast cancer, Anandiben Patel, Governor of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and Najma Heptulla, Governor of Manipur, on Wednesday joined from their respective states to observe the Breast Cancer Action Day institutionalised by the Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council during the ongoing global Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The governors unveiled a sand sculpture at Odisha by renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik, remotely, marking the day observed as part of IHW Council's month-long mega virtual conclave.

"Cancer is spreading rapidly across the world and more severely in India. It can be treated and cured if detected early. Even men can have it. So, it is important to hold regular screening camps in cities and villages. As the CM of Gujarat, we introduced Mukhyamantri Amrutam Vatsalya Yojana, focusing on gender-budgeting that benefited women the most - more than 1.5 crore women were screened in the health camps under it. We must educate teenage girls right in schools about the health problems who can educate their mothers. I believe, if we care for our mothers, we can save 50 per cent of cancer patients," said Patel.

Heptulla also said that efforts like the Breast Cancer Action Day should be held regularly to make people aware of cancer and help the patients survive. "I am sure the programme will be a source of encouragement for both patients and survivors and tell them that having cancer does not mean death - people from all walks of life should join such efforts," she said.

"I am very happy and honoured to be a part of this effort. People must know that cancer is curable and every artist should come forward in their capacity to create awareness," said Patnaik.

"This is unfortunate that despite growing awareness in the country, one out of every two women diagnosed with breast cancer loses her life to this disease, primarily because of delay in detection and treatment. Therefore, efforts like today's national Breast Cancer Action Day become more important," said Kamal Narayan, CEO, IHW Council.

Dr Meera Agnihotri, Founder-President of WWW Foundation said that breast cancer is the top cancer in women worldwide and is increasing particularly in developing countries. It is one of the biggest challenges for women's health. India registered 162,468 new cases of breast cancer in 2018. The majority of cases in India are diagnosed in late stages due to poor awareness, she added.

"The Breast Cancer Action Day is a thoughtful act and adds an impetus to the ongoing campaign of creating awareness. Schemes like Ayushman Bharat have already begun a transformational moment in cancer treatment in India while I believe PM-JAY will address the health education needs," said Saumil Mody, Oncology General Manager, Novartis Oncology India.

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