Srinagar’:Department of Bioresources, the University of Kashmir in collaboration with the Indian Cancer Society and J&K Science Technology and Innovation Council (JKSTIC) holds on Breast Cancer Awareness cum Screening mega event on Thursday.
On the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month being commemorated in October every year, Free breast cancer awareness-cum-screening program organized by the Department of Bioresources under the headship of Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Mir, Head Department of Bioresources in association with Indian Cancer Society and J&K Science Technology and Innovation Council (JKSTIC) in continuation with the month-long breast cancer awareness program held in 15-degree colleges across Kashmir Valley.
The theme of the Program was breast cancer awareness-cum-screening. The department had already started the breast cancer awareness campaign in the month of October and this mega event was a part of that.
The mega event held at Gandhi Bhawan in University of Kashmir was a concluding programme of one-month long breast cancer awareness campaign where experts from medicine, researchers and different dignitaries talk about this dreadful disease.
The programme was inaugurated by Honorable vice chancellor university of Kashmir, Prof Neolofar Khan. Prof Neolofar in its talk at the Mega event addressed the need for academic and medical institutions in the UT to collaborate in raising awareness on breast cancer which is “rising alarmingly” in the country.
Prof Neolofar praised the Department of Bioresources for taking these efforts to develop awareness among the masses of Jammu and Kashmir.
She continued that young minds who were educated during the month-long programme about breast cancer must become ambassadors in the community to spread their learning in the society.
“The twin cause of advocacy and awareness is our responsibility towards our society and we at the University will do our best to collaborate with other local and national institutions to make this process a continuous one,” she said.
Dr Manzoor Ahmad Mir, the organizing secretary and Head Department of Bioresources said the department aims to link its research on cancer with the society and the current month-long programme is a step in that direction.
He also called for linking academic, research and medical institutions and developing a comprehensive strategy on raising awareness on breast cancer. “Earlier we used to see that people aged above 50 were vulnerable to breast cancers, but today we see victims in the age group of 20 to 30 and 30 to 40,” he said.
Dr Manzoor gave the overall scenario of breast cancer and said that all should work together to create a national strategy for awareness and early detection of breast cancer that reflects the principles of ‘research-informed clinical practice.
He said that breast cancer awareness is associated with individual generosity, faith in scientific progress, and a positive and optimistic “can-do” positive attitude. Dr. Manzoor said that there is an alarming increase of 20% in cancer cases most of them with breast cancer as per the latest data from State cancer institute of SKIMS. Breast cancer awareness is an effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on symptoms and treatment.
The goal of this programme is to raise the public’s “brand awareness” for breast cancer, its detection, its treatment, and the need for a reliable, permanent cure. He said that we need to pool and share our resources, using latest technologies for the diagnosis, treatment and awareness about breast cancer, he added. Dr Manzoor proposed formation of a Kashmir specific breast cancer society and opening up of a branch of Indian Cancer Society Srinagar. Furthermore, Dr. Manzoor Ahmad has Produced a comprehensive documentary on breast cancer, which was unveiled by the Hon “able vice chancellor Prof Neolofar Khan. The documentary was edited by Er. Abdul Rashid Bhat of EMMRC, University of Kashmir. .
The documentary has covered the entire glimpse of this one-month long awareness programme and has covered all general aspects of breast cancer awareness including the statistics, breast self-examination as well as the signs and symptoms.
The documentary presented the entire scenario of breast cancer in Kashmir valley and expert opinions from the leading oncologists and researchers of the valley. The documentary also highlighted some important messages and announcements by the honorable vice chancellor, Prof Neelofar Khan.
Also focused the Research & Awareness of Bioresources Department of University of Kashmir during this whole October month all across Kashmir Valley. Further the leading oncologists have also given some important awareness as well as statistical data about breast cancer. The documentary has also highlighted the whole journey of college visits done by Dr. Manzoor.
The documentary was played on bigger screen and all the dignitaries, guests, faculties, scholars as well as the students watched the documentary with much interest. The remarks made by the dignitaries about the documentary were very much satisfied.
Mr. Saurabh Bhagat, IAS, Commissioner/Secretary JKST & IC, who was a guest of honor, said screening mechanisms are fewer in rural areas compared to urban belts and it is therefore important to step up awareness campaigns to save people from falling victim to breast cancer.
He advocated for doing away with “shyness” associated with discussing breast cancers openly so that the message of early diagnosis is carried far and wide.
He also congratulated Dr. Manzoor for his wonderful effort to spread the word about breast cancer.
VC Central University of Kashmir Prof Farooq A Shah, also a guest of honor, said breast cancer is coming up as a “health crisis” with an ever-increasing number of cases.
One study says that one person every four minutes is diagnosed with breast cancer in the country and every 10 to 12 minutes a person dies of this fatal disease, he said. He said lack of awareness leads to late detection and consequently delayed treatment.
Director SKIMS Prof Pervez Koul, a special guest at the inaugural session, said that Breast Self-Examination (BSE) clinics have to come up in “every home” so that vulnerable people are able to detect any abnormality on their own to reduce the risk of catching up with breast cancers.
He said while genetic factors cannot be avoided, appropriate interventions related to environmental and other factors can be made to reduce the breast cancer risk.
On the occasion, Prof Nilofer and other dignitaries released a dedicated web-portal of the Bioresources Department on breast cancer awareness, carrying all related academic and research information.
The website is made available to all people free of cost. The website contains all the information related to breast cancer.
The website contains different sections including a research section, a resource section, etc. Further all the important links related to breast cancer awareness are also available there.
The dignitaries analyzed the website with very much attention and gave their suggestions and remarks about the website. All the dignitaries were very much satisfied with this step taken by Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Mir.
The event also witnessed the book launch related to breast cancer. Two books authored by Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Mir were released at the event. The books were published with Elsevier publications which covered all the aspects of breast cancer.
The event also witnessed the presence of (JKDST) who beautifully presented the story of his mother as a breast cancer survivor. He encouraged the audience for breast cancer awareness and screening.
He in his message sowed the seeds of hope among the audience that make them somehow to believe that we can defeat this terrible disease of breast cancer.
Registrar Dr. Nisar A Mir gave the concluding remarks at the inaugural session, which was attended by senior academicians including Prof Irshad A Nawchoo, Dean Research KU, and Prof Naseer Iqbal, Registrar IUST.
A team of 10 medicos coordinated by Dr Natasha Thakur (SKIMS), Dr Sheikh Zahoor (SKIMS) and Dr Shameema (GMC Srinagar) conducted the screening camp. KU Health Centre provided support to the program. Different masses attended the screening session including the PG students, research scholars, faculty and general public.