Eighteen bikers and a team of 34 on a mission to spread cancer awareness in the seven Northeastern states arrived in Dibrugarh on Friday.
The cancer awareness rally named ‘Beat Cancer: Run and Ride 2018’ organised by Tata Trusts, Cachar Cancer Hospital and Silchar Thumpers Enfield Club in collaboration with the Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), Tata Motors and National Cancer Grid was flagged off from Silchar on March 12.
The participants on the 2,100-km journey have so far passed through Shillong, Guwahati, Tezpur, Itanagar before arriving in Dibrugarh. The team later proceeded to Kohima and will pass through Imphal, Aizawl and Agartala before returning to Silchar for the concluding ceremony on March 22.
The riders will interact with people and organizations on the way at small towns, villages and big cities all across the Northeastern states spreading awareness about cancer, risk factors, sign and symptoms, its preventive measures, research aspects and treatment modalities.
Welcoming the participants at the Chowkidinghee playground on their arrival, Dibrugarh DC Laya Madduri said, “It is indeed an appreciable move. The rally will go a long way in creating awareness about cancer among the people of the Northeast. Every year the Northeastern region witnesses about 45,000 new cancer cases. The prevalence of cancer is higher in females as compared to males. Passive smoking is one of the major reasons. Youth and organisations must come forward to spread the message of cancer awareness.”
Ravi Kannan, Director of Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre said, “This rally aims to spread awareness about cancer and the importance of early detection. If prevalence of tobacco was not there, 50% of all cancers and 90% of oral cancers could have been prevented.”
Aizawl district in Mizoram has reportedly the highest rate of cancer incidents among males, while Papumpare district in Arunachal Pradesh has the highest cancer rate among females. Among males, head and neck is the most prevalent form of cancer making up 40% of the total cases, while among females, head and neck, cervical cancer make up 20% each and breast cancer makes up another 15%. Further, 70% of the cases are reported at the late stage of disease which results in a high mortality rate of 50% in the Northeast. The delayed diagnosis is due to a lack of awareness of cancer symptoms, poor access to affordable care and other psychological factors.