Leading oncologists, Dr Sukhrit Shetty and Dr. K. Pavithran, addressed a special gathering at Copthorne Hotel Dubai recently as part of a cancer awareness program titled ‘Beware; Be Aware’. The campaign was aimed at raising awareness in the UAE about misconceptions regarding cancer and was organised on the sidelines of UAE Cancer Congress by Ms. Jeeja Kishan, a prominent member of CanServe that is a charity group in Kochi. The organisation primarily focuses on cancer awareness programs and providing support to cancer patients and their families.
Supporting the ‘Beware; Be Aware’ cause were also Ajay P K and K V Manoj – co-ordinators of two Dubai-based associations – Raaga and Madapally Govt. College Alumni. Manoj C H President of Madapally College Alumni and Girish Paul representing Raaga pledged that more of such sessions will be organized to spread awareness among their group members.
Glenn Nobbs, General Manager, Copthorne Hotel Dubai, said, “We were delighted to support this superb initiative as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy and are extremely grateful to Mr Shashi Nair, our Vice President Finance, to have drawn our attention to it. At the Copthorne Hotel Dubai we are committed to take up any causes in the interest of our community and work towards a better and healthier society.”
With over 20 years of experience in Oncology, Dr Pavithran, is a Professor and Head of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, India. Similarly Dr Sukrith, also has over 20 years of experience as a Surgical Oncologist and is associated with NMC – Dubai.
The two doctors took the audience on a journey towards understanding Cancer. While Dr Pavithran spoke extensively on the disease itself, Dr Sukrith, spoke largely about how our lifestyles have helped increase cancer incidents. Both doctors reiterated that eating healthy and exercising is a good way to keep cancer at bay. ‘Changing our lifestyle is the key to avoid key risk factors’ they echoed.
In his speech, Dr Pavithran stressed, ‘Cancer is nothing but uncontrolled proliferation of cells’. He observed that, previously, the most common cancer among women in India was cervical cancer, but, in recent times, the most common cancer affecting women is breast cancer. This, he said is primarily due to changing lifestyle.
Cancer can be prevented by modifying the lifestyle and by early detection through cancer screening. Cancers like breast cancer and cervical cancer takes long time to develop into a tumor from the initial genetic changes occurring in the cell. So if we can detect them at an early stage through mammogram or Pap smear tests, we can treat it before they grow into full blown cancer. With early detection and treatment the chance of cure is very high.
Dr Sukhrit, however, told the audience how by changing our lifestyle, two thirds of the cancers can be prevented. He also noted that, there is only 5 % chance of cancer being caused by heredity and a bulk of cancers can be avoided by changing how we live our lives. “Lifestyle conveniences like elevators, lifts have made us a very inactive generation”. Dr Sukrith, also explained, how we can avoid cancer. “Avoiding harmful radiation and chemicals, eating at least two and half cups of fruits and vegetables a day, and by putting in at least half hour of physical activity, we are 30 percent less likely to get cancer”.
Jeeja Kishan – a Banker and Sudha Subramanian – a journalist, who have fought breast cancer in their lives, also spoke to the gathering about their bold decisions that helped them overcome the struggles and inspired the audience.