National Cancer Prevention Month, marked every February, is upon us, ushering in yet another opportunity to spread the word and take action to live better, healthier, and happier lives.
Sarvam conducted a cancer awareness program with Inner Wheel, Pondicherry, for around 50 women volunteers from the villages. The program aimed to create awareness about and reduce the risks of cancer as well as the early detection of it.
Cancer is common in developing and developed countries, but awareness is still poor among the general population. Poor understanding may lead to poor uptake of screening modalities and a delay in diagnosis.
As part of the program, participants were instructed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and take cancer-preventing drugs or vaccines.
In addition, participants learned how to reduce cancer risk by eating healthy, avoiding tobacco, drinking less alcohol, and protecting their skin.
During the training, the trainer made the women aware of how talking about cancer could save lives and prepared them for conversations about cancer and health with community members.
The trainer motivated the women to identify the key messages surrounding cancer awareness, explain how people can reduce their risk of getting cancer, and explain the importance of finding cancer early and screening programs available. In addition, she said that to understand the impact of health inequalities on cancer outcomes, it is important to acknowledge and address the fears and barriers people face when discussing cancer and health and to have effective, supportive conversations about cancer and health.
The main topic of her presentation was the early detection of cancer and how to detect the symptoms. She also encouraged volunteers to take action to make a positive difference.
Moreover, she explained how early cancer detection increases the chances of survival and the importance of encouraging people to know what's normal for their bodies and to visit their doctor if they notice any changes.
A key message she gave was about cancer prevention, national cancer screening programs, and early diagnosis. She also talked about how people can identify their potential barriers to making positive changes for their health or seeing a doctor and how they can overcome these barriers and avoid defensiveness and fear.
Several questions were raised during the question-and-answer session, indicating that women actively participated in the training.
Every participant was given a booklet containing information on cancer detection and prevention.
It was a great pleasure for the volunteer women to receive cancer awareness information, and they said it would be their responsibility to bring the message to their village people.