Public understanding and action gap leading to increase in Breast Cancer cases: Health Minister Gagan Thapa

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Together for Breast Cancer Awareness

Kathmandu, October 29, 2016: Minister for Health and Population Gagan Thapa has said that there exists a huge gap between public understanding and action about breast cancer in Nepal.

Speaking amidst a programme organized by Janata Clinic and Rotract and Rotary Clubs of Durbarmarg to raise awareness about breast cancer, minister Thapa had said that one not only needs to be aware about breast cancer, but also come forward to implement the knowledge into practice.

Thapa further stressed that such awareness programmes need to reach out to the far-flung villages. He raised the issue that most of the people don’t opt for screening for breast cancer. “Even though they know about it, they shy away from it,” he said, adding, “Cancer is not only a rural issue, but also an urban one. We have not yet been able to take proper benefit of the services available to us.”

Similarly, talking in the programme, Oncologist Dr. Rajendra Prasad Baral shared that breast-cancer is the commonest form of cancer worldwide. “It’s detectable and can be cured. If it’s detected at the stage ‘zero’, it can be prevented easily,” he stated. He also pointed out that late motherhood is one of the reasons for breast cancer. “Breast cancer is highly curable, but there is very less awareness about this among the general people. There are numerous examples of Nepali film actresses and celebrities diagnosed with the disease, and successfully cured. It would be better if they too come forward and spread a message that breast cancer can be cured,” said Baral.

Dr. Bhupendra Basnet, Director of Bir hospital shared that the test-centers for breast cancer are located only in city areas, though the majority of the population lives in villages. Stating that the cases of breast cancer has started to appear among young women, he recommended for a periodic checkup and early detection so as to prevent the disease. He further said that such awareness programmes need to be taken to a wider population, even in villages.

The programme also had an open-quiz session about breast cancer. Added to this, some common myths and truths were also discussed in the programme along with sharing of tips on avoiding/minimizing the risks of the form of cancer.

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The programme was coupled with entertainment sessions as part of which the participants could enjoy the hit numbers from the band INNOV8 including ‘Jeevan Ho Gham Chhaya’, and ‘Maya Mero Maya’ among others.

Also performing in the programme was Dr. Pranish Pokhrel with a melodious song from Nepathya – ‘Aaganai Bhari’.

Similarly, Nubhisha Upreti, an executive member of YUWA, shared her thoughts about breast cancer through spoken poetry. The poem titled ‘HOPE’ touched the heart of every audience member in the programme. Through the poem, she shared a message that cancer is not a death sentence, but rather it is a life sentence.

Participants in the programme could be seen happily enjoying all the sessions.

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Amidst the programme, pink balloons were released to mark October as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Photos Courtesy: Janata Clinic

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal

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