Rising prevalence of cancer in NE India needs special focus: CM

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36th Annual conference of AROI gets underway

IMPHAL, November 6: “Northeastern part of India is a cancer prone region. Certain types of cancer like stomach cancer, lung cancer and nasopharyngeal cancers are relatively very high”, said the State Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the 36th Annual Conference of Association of Radiation Oncologist of India, this evening at the conference hall of the City Convention Center, Imphal, the Chief Minister appealed to the experts from different parts of India and abroad to share their knowledge in tackling the dreaded disease.

He maintained that in view of the ever increasing incidence of cancer globally and relatively high incidence in the region, holding such a conference that too in the Northeastern part of India is highly significant.

Ibobi exuded confidence that the deliberations by the scientist during the 4-day conference will benefit all, in particular junior doctors and PG students, before adding that the exchange of new ideas and transfer of knowledge is the need of the hour.

Further, he said that the incidence of cancer is increasing day by day all over the world. World Health Organisation, WHO has predicted that the cancer incidence will increase by 50 percent from the present number by the year 2020, he added.

The Chief Minister expressed his happiness that about 700 delegates have registered to take part in the conference, including more than 20 resource persons from abroad like USA, Japan, Canada, Singapore and experts from Europe etc, who have all come to a small place like Manipur.

The inaugural function was presided by Prof Ramesh S Bilimagga, who is the outgoing president of the Association of Radiation Oncologist, along with dignitaries such as Prof NHK Sharma, VC of MU, Prof Ch Arunkumar, Director of RIMS, Dr Rajesh Vashistha, Gen Secretary of AROI, Dr Th Tomcha, who is the organising chairman and Dr L Jaichand, organising secretary of the conference as the guests of honour.

During the inaugural function, oncologists who have done outstanding work and researches in oncology were honoured.

Meanwhile, earlier in the evening before the commencement of the function, Prof Ramesh S Bilimagga, president of AROI addressing a press meet at the same venue pointed out that the main aim of the association is to promote the practice and advances in radiation oncology, cancer chemotherapy and allied radiation sciences.

Prof Ramesh asserted that in an economically emerging country like ours, we need to have an appropriate strategic plan to use the precision radiation in a cost effective manner, adding that one of the most important area that we are lagging behind is awareness on cancer. People across the board should be aware of early signs of cancer, and the role of media is immense in this regard, he added.

He continued that as on March 2014, India has 362 institutes offering radiation facility. “We have 543 teletherapy machine (COBALT – 228 & LINAC 229) and 289 brachytherapy units, which is grossly inadequate for the population of 1.25 billion”, he said.

Prof Ramesh maintained that the government has a vital role to play in making cancer care more affordable to the public. He said the government of India has allotted sufficient funds in 5 years plan for non-communicable diseases, it is up to all of us to utilise it properly.

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