Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Cancer: Global perspective and Apollo Hospital’s initiatives

By: Chioma Umeha

The move towards arresting the increasing cases of cancer all over the world has been a focus of some selected institutions among which Apollo Hospital, under its special cancer care unit, Apollo Cancer Institute, is taking a bold and giant step in seeking solution. The spate of cancer ailment has become quite worrisome to medical professionals and other stakeholders across the world. It is estimated that over 15 million cases of cancer are diagnosed out of which eight million deaths are recorded on annual basis. It is against this background that Apollo Hospital, a leading global healthcare delivery firm based in India, organized a three-day conference in Hyderabad, India. The high point of the conference was a special round-table session termed “Cancer Menace: Global Perspective” which had 25 delegates and dignitaries from 18 countries from different regions of the world. 

Participants in the conference agreed that there is an urgent need to galvanize massive inputs and resources on a global scale to arrest the scourge of cancer all over the word. In doing this, it was expressed unanimously that stakeholders within and outside medical professions must begin to attend to cancer issues with utmost and proactive attention. To build a broad-based co-operation among stakeholders and strategize for workable solution, the conference admonished the participants to begin sensitization and advocacy to eliminate ignorance about the general belief that cancer is incurable. All the participants expressed willingness and readiness to embark on massive awareness campaigns that will change people’s belief and attitude by showing that cancer is curable. The conference delegates made a joint declaration to offer a long-term solution to stem the tide of cancer spread in the world. The declaration places premium on public education and enlightenment which stresses prevention over treatment in managing cancer ailments. 

According to the declaration, adhering to the following four recommendations will reduce cases of cancer drastically: avoiding tobacco use; preventing Viral Infections (HBV/HCV and HVP); preventing obesity; avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol and high consumption of vegetable and fruits. Also, it was stated that early diagnosis and effective treatment reduce cancer morbidity and mortality by 60 per cent. However, the round-table session also made a serious case for intensive cancer screening programmes delivered on a larger scale in communities, states and nations. This kind of intervention to arrest cancer spread, according to the delegates, would require active participation and conscientious efforts of governments, healthcare providers, NGOs and other solution providers in cancer management. In addition, the participants maintained that to achieve milestone feats in addressing cancer scourge, corporate, institutional and national efforts should be geared towards a number of issues. 

These include garnering political support and working towards realigning government focus on cancer prevention and control and facilitating research on the causes of human cancer, newer diagnostic tools and safer therapeutic options for cancer management. Others are, generating new knowledge and disseminating existing knowledge to facilitate the delivery of evidence-based approaches to cancer control and facilitating broad networks of cancer control partners and experts at global, regional and national levels. The rest are, the provision of technical assistance for rapid and effective transfer of best practice interventions to developing countries. 

The conference had representatives from various governments, international agencies, academia, non-profits and other key stakeholders in attendance. All the representatives and stakeholders expressed support for and readiness to partner with Apollo Hospital to fight the scourge of cancer all over the world.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on February 21,  2015.

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