Cancer is the second biggest killer after heart disease in India reveals data released recently. Experts foresee that the death toll due to cancer is going to go up in the coming years.

To spread awareness about the disease and its prevention, the World Cancer Day was observed across the country and Kolkata on Thursday and various programmes were organised in the city. ‘We can. I can’ is the theme of the World Cancer Day this year.

The World Cancer Day is a major step in the fight against the disease and banish the stigma often attached to the disease. Cancer has a serious impact on a patient’s emotional, physical and mental state, with some patients even suffering diminished quality of life, the survey stated.

A number of initiatives were taken both by government and private institutions with walks, workshops and cultural programmes organised to spread awareness.

According to a study by the Indian Council for Medical Research, a decade ago, the cases of paediatric cancer were just 2.5 per cent of the total number of cases. Today it has added up to about 45.5 per cent.

In India of the eight lakh cancers diagnosed annually, about 50,000 are childhood cancers. Of these 30-40 per cent is leukaemia and lymphoma and 20 per cent is brain tumour. In case of laeukemia different environmental factors are responsible, informed the study.

 In such a awareness seminar the focus was mainly on the effect of global warming, food habits and food adulteration. Here the experts emphasised that the main culprits behind the deadly disease are air and water pollution along with the use of pesticides in food, lifestyle, diet, high use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and chewing of paan masala.

Prevention of cancer in children was the main focus of the programme organised by the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, where children from various schools participated.

 In a similar awareness programme held by the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute thrust was given to the rise of paediatric cancer.

 In another initiative, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals organised a discussion session on the theme, ‘We can. I can’. Attended by a panel of eminent doctors, chess player Dibyendu Barua and actor  Kharaj Mukherjee.

The speakers highlighted the need for early detection of cancer, which improves the chances of effectively combating the disease, raising survival rates.

They also discussed the importance of the latest advances in diagnosis, like liquid biopsies and 3- D imaging test, besides the use of such innovations as Novalis, TX, IMRT and IGRT, immunotherapy and targeted drugs in the overall treatment protocol.

Institutes of alternative medicines like homoeopathy, Ayurveda and Unani also held such consciousness-raising camps.

 In these camps it was also stressed that maintaining social support networks and talking about cancer is important for both the person living with cancer and their caregivers