Yesterday, the city marked World Cancer Day in a number of different ways. Survivors were honoured, awareness drives were held as doctors hammered home yet again the importance of early detection in cancer. In one such programme, women’s teams played football matches at the Azad Maidan in SoBo, in an initiative to raise awareness about breast cancer.
Cancer institutes from across the country gave statistics about the rising incidence of cancer in India, outlined the most common cancers for men and women and advocated lifestyle changes, including big changes in diet. Elsewhere in the world, some doctors were talking about how more than 60 per cent of cancers are now curable, early diagnosis being of key importance. One report states that the World Health Organisation (WHO) scientists state that the globe is facing a tsunami of cancer and there is an urgent need to focus on prevention by tackling smoking, obesity and drinking.
Given the fact that cancer touches almost everyone in different ways, there is little doubt what the world needs most urgently is a cure for cancer, the hugely optimistic dream of a day when cancer can be cured with a jab, like a flu shot. While this may seem laughable to the medical community, some who dare to dream, dream on.
Pronouncements about battling the disease bravely are just so much talk for those who have watched a loved one, waste away after battling bravely. Caretakers whose eyes brim with tears know how desperately they hold on to their loved ones, praying for a medical miracle or that one breakthrough that has eluded the medical community, despite its relentless and sterling efforts and a good deal of progress against the disease.
Who can blame families and caregivers who live in hope and who sometimes turn to disgusting quacks preying on people at their most vulnerable? One can only tell people to be wary of bogus claims of cures. All this while, we can cling on to hope that diseases that are no longer dreaded today and are easily treatable, were once considered deadly or fatal.
Maybe, one day the most brilliant scientific minds across the globe will tell us that they have found that cure. Till then, the Emperor of Maladies still holds us in a vice-like grip.