With the northeastern states of India recording a high cancer prevalence rate, Tata Trust and the Cachar Cancer Hospital, in collaboration with several other organisations, have embarked on a motorcycle rally across the seven states to make people aware about the disease and sensitise the patients.
The rally titled, 'Run and Ride' was flagged off from here on Tuesday and will go to Tezpur, Itanagar, Dibrugarh, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl and Agartala before concluding at Silchar in Assam on March 21, covering a total distance of over 2,100 km.
"The rally aims to spread awareness on cancer and the importance of early detection," said Dr. Ravi Kannan, Director, Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, adding that if tobacco was not there, "50 per cent of all cancers and 90 per cent of oral cancers can be prevented".
"The riders will interact with people and organisations on the way in small towns, villages and big cities all across northeast India, spreading awareness about cancer, risk factors, sign and symptoms, its preventive measures, research aspects and treatment modalities," he said.
He also said that the northeastern region, with a population of approximately five crore, sees about 45,000 new cancer cases every year.
"Across India, Aizawl district in Mizoram reported the highest rate of cancer among males, while Papumpare district in Arunachal Pradesh recorded the highest number among females," he said.
"70 per cent of the cases are reported at the late stages," he said, adding that it is due to a lack of awareness about the symptoms, poor access to affordable care and other psychological factors like fear and fatalism.
The rally is being organised in collaboration with the Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), National Cancer Grid, Electrobion Sip, Silchar Thumpers and others, who will also organise street plays, sensitisation and educational talks apart from sharing the stories of cancer patients.