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Awareness about Women's Cancers- A National Concern

National Cancer Awareness Day falls on November 7 and the theme selected is Cancer and Women. Schoolchildren in Allahabad will be participating in a marathon on that day// to promote awareness and motivate people to join hands against the dreaded disease.

"Run 4 Cancer" will be flagged off by SSP Vijay Singh Meena, from Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital. Commissioner Allahabad Division RN Tripathi will preside over a lecture on cancer awareness on November 7 for schoolteachers and principals. This is being done by the Regional Cancer Centre, Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital to help spread the message.

The XIX Annual Convention of the Radiation Oncologist of India (UP Chapter) will be held at Allahabad on November 11 and 12 and will be inaugarated by Dr Kamal Sahani, Director General, Medical Education, UP. The subjects being discussed will include the recent advances in cancer and the 150 oncologists are expected to be present.

In Chennai the worldwide observance of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October was marked by several organisations to bring the spotlight on breast cancer and stress the need for early detection.

The commonest cancers seen in women are of the uterus, cervix, and breast, and tobacco related cancers of the oral cavity and throat.

Majority of the cancers reported in India can either be prevented or detected early and can be effectively treated and cured. But ignorance of the basic facts of cancer prevails, especially in villages where superstitions surround the disease.

Vaccines to prevent cervival cancer are now available. Breast cancer treatments are commonly done with a view to conserve the organ. Only the lump is removed and radiation is used on the surrounding tissue. Other cancer surgeries are also performed as minimally disfiguring as possible. Yearly checkups for women over 40 are advised by the WHO : however most women do not go in for them.

A popula r misconception about breast cancer is that it can be caused by breast feeding, which is not the case.

"In fact, not only does breastfeeding a child not cause breast cancer, some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly reduce a woman's risk factor of developing breast cancer," said Dr. Ramesh Nimmagada, Director Apollo Cancer Hospital.

Another issue raised is that of abortion. Though it was thought once that that an induced abortion could lead to breast cancer, the claim has been dismissed by experts. Similar claims are made about using birth control pills and deodorants. The Internet also supplies a lot of information both correct and incorrect, so it is important that women are made aware of the actual facts.

The precautions women can take are - self examination of breasts after age 30, special precautions if they have family history of breast cancer, and proper diet and exercise. They should consult a doctor about any doubts they may have, to set their minds at rest.

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