Volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) work on various social causes and those of the Assam University have taken up the cause of cancer prevention in earnest.
Attending a workshop in the Cachar Cancer Hospital in Silchar on Saturday, the programme officers and volunteers of NSS units from more than 10 colleges made plans on how to reduce the prevalence of cancer in Barak Valley.
NSS programme coordinator of Assam University, M Gangabhushan said that 50 per cent of all cancers in men and 25 per cent in women are caused by tobacco and in Assam the percentages are higher because of added usage of ‘tamool’ which is also a carcinogen.
Tobacco causes not only cancer but so many other diseases. He added that in Assam more than 34,000 people die per annum due to tobacco related diseases. It is not just the deaths, it is all those families who are also destroyed.
The workshop, organized by Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) and Assam Cancer Care Foundation to sensitize NSS Officers and volunteers and to help them plan community mobilization activities.
SHF Trustee, Sanjay Seth said, “The tobacco epidemic is reversible. NSS volunteers represent youth power which once awakened can change the society. Not only will such campaigns make the volunteers themselves to refrain from using tobacco they can change the perception towards tobacco usage of the communities they work in.”
Dr Ravi Kanan, director of Cachar Cancer Hospital and leader of the Voice of Tobacco Victims in Assam, speaking at the workshop about the harms of tobacco, said that most of the patients who come to the hospital are victims of tobacco consumption.
Unfortunately they come at a late stage of cancer and hence the chances of survival are low. He added that prevention campaigns as the one undertaken by the NSS can change the prevalence of tobacco usage saving lacs of lives, he also said.