Health authorities in Meghalaya have turned to religious leaders to seek their help in spreading awareness on tobacco-related cancer, officials said on Wednesday.
Meghalaya records about 8,000 deaths per year due to cancer out of which 70 per cent are tobacco-related cancer cases, they said.
The state also has a record 131 cancer cases per 1 lakh population and this is ten times the national average, cancer surgeon at the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences Dr Caleb Harris told PTI.
At the institute alone, about 1200 cancer cases are recorded annually and about 750 800 cases are tobacco-related cancer cases, he said adding that esophageal cancer, the most prevalent in the state, is caused by use of tobacco, alcohol and betel nut, and hence is preventable. Involvement of religious leaders would go a long way in this regard as they are in a position to influence the masses effectively. It was imperative,
NEIGRIHMS director Nalin Mehta said a meeting with over 20 senior leaders of various religious institutions, churches and puja committees was held to rope them in the effort to mobilise awareness on the issue.
"It was important to raise awareness through every available option considering the high number of cancer cases in the state," he stated.
He said church and other religious leaders have assured of their involvement in their capacity to bring about a change in the mind-set of the people against tobacco, alcohol and kwai.
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