"There have been efforts to ban tobacco, but we need to understand that we are also fighting a large tobacco lobby," Sharmila Pimple, professor at Department of Preventive Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital said at a special session of the Indian Cancer Congress held.

According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the tobacco industry in India has exports of USD 923 million. Also, the exports have grown at a rate of 15.8 percent from USD 322.49 million in 2005-06 to a record USD 900.64 million in 2012-13.

India ranks as the second largest consumer of tobacco products and the third largest producer globally, according to industry figures.

"We do not have the funds for this fight, hence the focus should be on the vigorous implementation of the programmes," Pimple said.

"Cancer prevention can also begin with a healthy diet, exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. Education about the disease is extremely important as well," she said.

Pimple said it was extremely important to provide local health solutions at the grassroot level. The cancer congress brought together experts from the field of surgery, medicine and radiation oncology, associated with the life-threatening disease.

The four-day event that commenced on Thursday saw participation of radiologists, pathologists, scientists, and physicists.

"It is for the first time that we have oncologists from across the globe, including 130 foreign delegates, to sit and discuss situations and research associated with cancer in India. We have always realized the need to talk among ourselves, and now it’s finally happening," Nitesh Rohatgi, consultant medical oncologist and palliative care, Max Super Speciality Hospital said.

(Agencies)

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