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CJI says govt must step in to tackle breast cancer, calls for roadmap

New Delhi, May 7, 2022 – The Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, said on Saturday that the government must step in in a big way to tackle breast cancer, which is becoming a leading cause of concern in the society.

He also said the government should develop a roadmap to tackle this issue.

Speaking at the release of a book titled ‘Atlas of Breast Elastography and Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Cytology’, the CJI said breast cancer is becoming one of the leading causes of concern in the society and considering the socio-economic considerations, this disease can be a curse for the entire family.

He added that from diagnosis to treatment, at every stage, the patient has to shell out substantial amounts which very few can afford.

Emphasising that the need of the hour is to generate awareness, Ramana said, “It is essential to design breast cancer awareness campaigns on the scale of cervical cancer, anti-tobacco and pulse polio campaigns. Celebrities and famous personalities should be involved. The mass media plays a significant role in disseminating information.”

He said that primary healthcare centres lack even basic infrastructure and there is also lack of affordable treatment options.

“Often, women belonging to marginalised sections lack access to information, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. We need interventions and strategies addressing inequities of cancer screening and treatment in India. If this disease is to be tackled effectively, the government has to step in in a big way. The government must give a boost to medical infrastructure and research,” the CJI said.

He added, “Ultimately, a roadmap is necessary to tackle up this issue. The Health Ministry, the government of India must involve doctors, leading NGOs and industrialists to prepare the same.”

Ramana pointed out that every four minutes, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in women.

“As many as 27.7 per cent of all new cancers detected in women in 2018 were breast cancer cases. Every eight minutes, one woman dies of breast cancer. A total of 87,090 women died of breast cancer in 2018, which was the second highest number in the world for that year. Around 32 per cent of new cases belong to the age group of 25 to 49,” he said.

The CJI further pointed out that the role of doctors is also of great significance and the responsibility of gynaecologists cannot be under-stated.

“It is because of their active efforts that cases of cervical cancer has come down. They must play a similar role in the war against breast cancer,” he added.

Ramana said that women form 50 per cent of the population in the country, and they are the backbone of the family and society.

“Therefore, their health must find equal attention and reflection in our society and policies. But several socio-cultural factors prevent women from getting the best possible attention on health. Women often end up taking care of others. However, when it comes to their own health, it is often suppressed and ignored. It is high time that we change the attitude surrounding women’s health,” he said.

The CJI also that he is extremely saddened to witness rising violence against doctors and several false cases are being lodged against upright and hardworking medical practitioners.

“They need a better, and more secure working environment. This is where professional medical associations assume great significance. They have to be pro-active in highlighting the demands of doctors,” he said.  (Agency)

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