There is an urgent need to educate college-going youngsters on on cervical and breast cancer. This is evident from a survey of 595 participants on the subject.
Titled 'Cancer Awareness Amongst Youngsters', the survey revealed that almost 60 per cent of youngsters from Mumbai and New Delhi colleges are unaware of cervical cancer and more than 50 per cent do not know about the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a major cause of the disease. Similarly, 74 per cent participants ‘don’t know’ about ‘self-breast examination’ to detect early signs of breast cancer.
February 4 is World Cancer Day
The survey was conducted by the Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai and BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, in association with the Dahanukar and Sathye colleges. The report also revealed that more women in Mumbai responded to the questionnaire while in New Delhi, there were more male respondents.
“Despite almost half the participants being women, 58 per cent in Mumbai and 60 per cent in Delhi said they were not aware of cervical cancer. The human papillomavirus (HPV), which, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), causes 70 per cent of cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cervical lesions, had failed to grab the attention of 58 per cent of students in Mumbai and 71 per cent in Delhi,” the survey report said.
Health experts said the youngsters were well-informed about oral and general cancer, most likely due to the intensified anti-tobacco campaigns run by the state and central governments. “Over 80 per cent participants across the two cities were aware of the direct correlation of tobacco and alcohol with oral cancer. Majority refused to accept that they smoked or consumed tobacco as a means to relieve stress or gain focus,” said Dr Sanjay Dudhat, head of oncosurgery at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital.
Dr Surender Dabas, director - surgical oncology and chief of robotic surgery, BLK Cancer Centre, citing the data, requested the need to create awareness about the advantages of early diagnosis.
“Lack of awareness often delays the diagnosis and as a result, about 50 per cent cancer patients discover their ailments only in the third or fourth stage, which severely restricts their survival chances. Given the rising incidence of cancer, youngsters in our country need to be made aware of advanced facilities for early diagnosis, treatment, and care,” he said.