MIAO, Jun 28: A cancer awareness and health advocacy programme was held at the government higher secondary school here in Changlang district on Friday by the Rera Welfare Society (RWS).
The programme was conducted by Dr Caleb Harris, surgical oncologist and associate professor in the surgical oncology department of Shillong (Meghalaya)-based NEIGRIHMS.
Northeast India records very high incidences of cancer, but very few centres offer care for cancer. This prompted Dr Harris to set up the surgical oncology department at the NEIGRIHMS, besides a multidisciplinary team for cancer care.
He said one of the focus areas of his research is “the influence of betel nut on the aerodigestive tract tumours.”
During the programme, Dr Harris educated the gathering on the ways to detect cancer, how to get treatment, etc.
“The early stages of cancer will see a change in the size, shape or colour of a mole or other spot on the skin. The spots that are new or look different are top signs of skin cancer. Then an immediate exam, and perhaps a biopsy, will be needed,” Dr Harris informed.
He said the signs and symptoms of cancer include blood in the urine, hoarseness, persistent lumps or swollen glands, obvious change in a wart or a mole, indigestion or difficulty in swallowing, unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, unexpected weight loss, night sweats or fever, and continued itching in the anal or genital area.
The cancer treatment options include surgery to remove the cancer or as much of the cancer as possible, chemotherapy, drugs, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted drug therapy.
“If detected in the initial stage, cancer can be cured,” Dr Harris said.
A similar programme was also organised on the same day in Kharsang, where Dr Harris was joined by NEIGRIHMS Associate Professor Dr Lomtu Ronrang.
Both the programmes saw the participation of a large number of students and teachers, besides members of the RWS.