JORABAT, Dec 2 - In developing countries like India, most patients with cancer are diagnosed at a relatively late stage but in the countries like the Netherlands, patients are diagnosed early and get cured soon. The main reason for cancer-related deaths in India is lack of awareness among citizens, experts say.
The North East Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (NECHRI), in association with Association of Otolaryngologist of India (AOI) organised an international symposium titled 9th Head and Neck Update at the Emil Grubbe Auditorium on the NECHRI campus.
Prof Max JH Witjes and Dr Roel JHM Steenbakkers from University Medical Centre, Groningen in the Netherlands, Dr Jan Paul de Boer from the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, Dr Abhishek Shankar from AIIMS, New Delhi and Prof S Rajasundaram of Global Gleanegles Hospital, Chennai attended the event as guest faculties.
At a press meet, Dr MN Baruah, MD cum chief consultant in the Department of Head and Neck Oncology at NECHRI, said head and neck cancer was one of the commonly occurring cancers in India.
He said that in developing countries like India, most patients with cancer continue to be diagnosed at a relatively late stage but in the Netherlands, patients are diagnosed early and get cured in almost every case.
�Around 80 per cent of head and neck cancer patients come for treatment when it reaches the second and third stages, which make it less curable. The main reason for cancer-related deaths is lack of awareness,� he said.
Prof Witjes said chewing of betel nut, along with tobacco as well as smoking are some of the major causes of head and neck cancer.
�In India, the reason behind low percentage of cancer cure cases is not because of the lack of willingness of doctors. The doctors here are very active with high will power to treat cancer. The main reason here is less awareness among the public. The government can play a key role to create awareness among the citizens about cancer and its symptoms, so that patients come for treatment at an early stage, making them more likely to get cured,� he said.
The guest speakers said research was going on to combine immunotherapy with chemotherapy, which may show better results to cure cancer. They urged people to quit chewing tobacco, saying it will help drop cancer occurrence rates.
The symposium also discussed �Proton Therapy� � an advanced cancer care treatment procedure, which has less side effects compared to radiation therapy. However, proton therapy centres have not been set up anywhere in India till date.