Guwahati: A group of doctors and bikers have joined hands to travel through 2,200 kilometres across the North East to create awareness about cancer by enacting street plays and organising talks along with their entire journey.

Twenty-five doctors and staff of Cachar Cancer Hospital & Research Centre and members of biking group ‘Silchar Thumpers’ have kick-started their ride yesterday from Silchar in Assam.

Members taking part in the rally – a collaboration of Tata Trusts, Cachar Cancer Hospital and others – will criss-cross seven NE states and will touch Shillong, Guwahati, Tezpur, Itanagar, Dibrugarh, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl and Agartala before ending the ride again at Silchar on March 22.

“Our purpose is to both support delivery of high quality and affordable cancer care close to patients’ homes and also to generate mass awareness about its prevention and early detection,” Tata Trusts Medical Director (Cancer Care Programme) Arnie Purushotham told PTI.

There is a high incidence of tobacco-related cancers in the North East such as oral and lung cancer, many of which are curable through preventative measures, screening and early detection, he added.

In every state capitals and town that the rally would pass, the riders’ arrival will be accompanied by a series of events, including street plays, sensitisation and educational talks as well as stories of cancer patients, he added.

In addition, workshops on cancer research and careers in oncology will be conducted for medical students and nurses in Guwahati by Tata Memorial Hospital (Mumbai), Adyar Cancer Institute (Chennai) and Regional Cancer Centre (Trivandrum).

During the rally, the doctors will interact with people at locations along the route to spread awareness about cancer, its preventive measures, detection aspects and treatment modalities.

According to data available with Tata Trusts, the Northeastern region with a population of approximately five crore sees about 45,000 new cancer cases every year.

Across India, Aizawl district in Mizoram reported the highest rate of cancer cases among men, while Papumpare district in Arunachal Pradesh recorded the highest incidence among women.

Tata Trusts is also working with Emmanuel Health Association, Ajmal Foundation, Deepshika Foundation, National Service Scheme and Rotary Foundation among others for cancer care awareness and screening in the outreach programme.

PTI