Panaji: Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão on Sunday urged people to join and support a statewide campaign against cancer in the state.
Archbishop Ferrão was addressing a gathering at the St Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre in Old Goa where the ‘CanSurvive’ campaign was launched. It is the Goa’s biggest and first-of-its-kind cancer support network under the aegis of Caritas Goa, which will focus largely on prevention and support mechanisms.
Among those present at the event included Caritas India director Fr Paul Moonjely, Caritas India assistant director Fr Jolly Puthenpura, renowned oncologist Dr Ian Pinto, medical experts, priests, nuns and people from all over the state.
“It is our common experience that somebody somewhere in our family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances has suffered from cancer. This disease puts an immense financial and emotional burden on the person and the entire family,” said Archbishop Ferrão.
“Cancer is becoming an ever-increasing menace in Goa. We have been told that about eight people are detected with cancer every day in Goa.”
He stated that the Church in Goa draws its inspiration from the Church in Kerala, which initiated the first such campaign in the country under the guidance of Caritas India.
“It was due to this widespread suffering not only to patients but to their families, that under the guidance of Caritas India and drawing inspiration from a similar campaign in Kerala, the Church in Goa has envisioned this campaign under the aegis of Caritas Goa to offer help in the prevention and treatment of cancer,” the Archbishop said.
The Archbishop appealed to people to continue this crusade with determination and collaboration, while also requesting them to sustain the enthusiasm to spread the word about the campaign and reach out to people with cancer.
He also expressed his desire to place the ‘CanSurvive’ campaign under the patronage of St Joseph Vaz, the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
Earlier in his address, Caritas Goa director Fr Maverick Fernandes outlined the aims, objectives and mission goals of the ‘CanSurvive’ campaign.
Stating that ‘CanSurvive’ has two dimensions that one can survive from getting cancer and also can survive after getting it, Fr Fernandes said the campaign wishes to build a strong network with oncologists, surgeons, NGOs and civil society groups to provide information and support.
Highlighting some of the key goals of the campaign, Fr Fernandes said ‘CanSurvive’ will include awareness campaigns in schools on cancer prevention lifestyle, cancer management assistance through local communities, information on leading a healthy lifestyle, providing counselling and support, palliative care information and resource mobilisation for needy cancer patients.
Delivering his keynote address, oncologist Dr Ian Pinto highlighted the different types of cancers and the various factors contributing to cancer. He also emphasised the importance of a healthy lifestyle, regular screening to detect early stages of cancers, the need to avoid smoking and tobacco and to maintain a healthy diet and exercise.
A 10-year-old cancer survivor, Lilly Gomes, delivered a testimony about her battle with cancer ever since she was a toddler.
On the occasion, Archbishop Ferrão launched the CanSurvive anthem and jingle, the ‘CanSurvive’ helpline (8182830405) and the website (www.cansurvive.live). Others who spoke on the occasion included Fr Moonjely, Fr Puthenpura and Council for Social Justice and Peace executive secretary Fr Savio Fernandes.
‘CanSurvive’ will lay emphasis on sensitising people on leading a healthy lifestyle in an attempt to arrest the number of detection of cancer in Goa.