● You risk contracting cancer if you drink regularly
● Smoking increases chances of cancer
● If you drink and smoke together, the risk factor doesn’t double, it becomes 10-fold
Students of Presidency University were served these grim reminders at a cancer awareness session on the campus on Monday.
Doctors from Ruby General Hospital, who addressed the session at Derozio Hall, also shared encouraging facts like quitting tobacco and alcohol brings down chances of contracting cancer significantly.
“Even for people slightly older than you students are, there is no need to think ‘I have smoked for so long, so there is no point quitting now’. For a smoker who had 20 per cent chance of contracting cancer, the risk comes down to one or two per cent after quitting,” said Gautam Mukhopadhyay, the head of onco surgery at the EM Bypass hospital.
The session was organised jointly by the hospital and the university because it is in college that many pick up habits that increase chances of cancer.
The students were also told that symptoms of piles and cancer of the rectum were similar just as what manifests as chronic indigestion could actually be cancer of the gall bladder. So, if an ailment refuses to heal despite medication for two to three months, one should always consult a physician.
Amitabha Saha, critical care expert at the hospital, said nicotine was in a way even more dangerous for those aged between 30 and 50 than the elderly as far as cardiac blocks were concerned.
“Nicotine causes constriction of arteries which leads to blockage. But before a certain age, collaterals or tributaries of the coronary arteries do not develop. This is why we hear about young people passing away on the way to hospital after a heart attack,” Saha said.
Vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar said the hospital wanted to get to the root of the problem and make students aware how lifestyle changes can prevent cancer. It is important to create awareness, rather than ban smoking on the campus, she said.