Renowned cancer specialist Dr Sameer Kaul Saturday said that serious health issues needed to be given preference in India over the seditious political gossip. While speaking to reporters during the Breast Cancer Patients Benefit Foundation’s (BCPBF) awareness conference in Gulmarg, Dr Kaul said that the incidence of breast cancers across the country was increasing and, consequently, the deaths due to the fatal disease have also risen. But he lamented that the healthcare was being neglected due to the political gossip that was given precedence in public and media discourses. “Like the West, the incidence of breast cancers has not been brought down in the country. But, unfortunately, unlike the developed world, India has not been successful to bring down the deaths of women that occur due to such cancers,” said the senior Oncologist known across the Asian region. “Shockingly, in India seditious political gossip is given precedence over health issues,” he said. BCPBF had organized ‘The Gulmarg Declaration’ conference, which was attended by world-known cancer specialists, to discuss, evolve guidelines about the management of locally advanced breast cancer and its affordable treatment. Dr Kaul, who is the president and founding member of BCPBF, said that though the treatment of the breast cancer is common across the world, yet the biology of cancers in India varies from that of the developed world. “The Incidence of locally advanced breast cancer in Jammu and Kashmir is in no way different from the rest of the country. And yet, we have not formulated any response to it in the state. Keeping this in mind, we thought Gulmarg as the appropriate place to mount the assault on locally advanced breast cancer,” he said. Even though Dr Kaul admitted that he has not communicated to the government of Jammu and Kashmir about the disease, he hoped that the authorities would respond to the debate that they held in the Ski-resort. He said that the Union Health ministry has responded to them and he hoped that the state government also sees into their initiative. “I am hoping that the state government is sensitive enough to respond to our debate here. We need to start the journey treating this disease so that we can see what is the incidence of breast cancer here,” he said. BCPBF is a philanthropist group that aims to benefit the poor patients of breast cancer who cannot afford its costly treatment and also aware the public and governments about the fatal disease. Dr Kaul said that the governments need to think over the reduction of treatment costs of the disease by involving public-private partners and pharma industry. From the Valley, Dr Sonaullah Kuchay, head department of oncology GMC, was to attend the conference but due to death of his uncle he had to cancel his participation, said Dr Abid Banday.
2015 Kashmir Despatch