Guwahati/ Silchar, The 11-day 10-city cancer awareness ”Run and Ride” Rally by Tata Trusts and Cachar Cancer Hospital in collaboration with the Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), National Cancer Grid, Electrobion Sip, Silchar Thumpers was flagged off in Silchar today. 18 bikers and a team of 25 will cover the 7 states of North East Region. At each stop, prior to starting the ride, there will be a run/walkathon of 5 kms. At the launch in Silcher today, around 600 people participated in the run. A number of organizations participated- NSS, GC College, NIT, C-DAC, Lions Club, District Sports Authority, Inner Wheel Club, Department of Health, Airports Authority of India, Assam Police and others.
The Indian Army, Assam Rifles, Indian Air Force, CRPF, BSF and other Defence personnel participated in large numbers in the fight against cancer.
The Ride and Run Rally’s stops are Shillong, Guwahati, Tezpur, Itanagar, Dibrugarh, Kohima, Imphal, Aizwal, Agartala and it will conclude in Silchar on 21st March. The riders will cover a total distance of over 2100 kms.
The riders will interact with people and organizations on the way - at small towns, villages and big cities all across the North East Indian states spreading awareness cancer, risk factors, sign and symptoms, its preventive measures, research aspects and treatment modalities.
Dr Ravi Kannan, Director, Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre and VoTV patron, said, “this Rally aims to spread awareness on cancer and the importance of early detection. People often think cancer is not curable but all cancer deaths do not have to be in agony. He added that if tobacco was not there, 50% of all cancers and 90% of oral cancers can be prevented.”
India has 14.5 lakh new cases of cancer each year which is expected to rise to 17.3 lakh cases by 2020. This is a huge cancer burden for India. Furthermore, 70% of the cases are reported at the late stage of disease which results in a high mortality rate of 50%. The most common cancer types are oral, breast and cervical cancer, which are far more lethal in the Northeast Region compared to the rest of India. The delayed diagnosis is due to a lack of awareness of cancer symptoms, poor access to affordable care and other psychological factors like fear and fatalism.
Sanjay Seth, Trustee & Head Tobacco Control, Sambandh Health Foundation said, “Large participation by various organizations and groups shows how this issue is impacting our whole society. Only a patient and family realizes the actual suffering when cancer attacks. There is a tobacco epidemic in the Northeast and this rally will raise awareness about the issues.”
As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) done in in 2009-10 (GATS-1)and 2016-17 (GATS-2), tobacco consumption has gone up in Manipur, Assam and Tripura. In Manipur, the tobacco consumption has increased to 55.1% in GATS-2 from 54.1% in GATS-1; in Assam, tobacco consumption was 39.3% in GATS-1 which increased to 48.2% and in Tripura, it has escalated to 64.5% in GATS-2 from 55.9% in GATS-1.
Amongst the partners, Dr Ravikant Singh from Doctors For You, said, “these partnerships will bring all of us together in real sense. Awareness is an important aspect especially when it comes to early detection of cancer. Lots of lives and pain can be saved.”
Organising partners are National Service Scheme (North East Region), Rotary District 3240, Sambandh Health Foundation, Doctors For You, NEIGRIHMS (Shillong), Shillong Commerce College, Manbha Foundation, Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, Baptist Christian Hospital (Tezpur), Arunachal State Hospital, Assam Medical College, Naga Hospital, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (Imphal), Mizoram Cancer Institute, Tripura Medical College. Other partners include Silchar Thumpers, Rough It Out, Rentrip, Tata Motors, Yummy Foods.