This is not a story, but a true incident. I am on oncologist and I treat patients with cancers of various kinds.
I saw this young 19 years old boy who had come to me with a diagnosis of lung cancer. When I am told that I am expected to see a patient with lung cancer, intuitively I start imagining a middle to old age man. But this patient was only 19 years old.
He was accompanied by his parents. His parents look absolutely lost, stunned and anxious when they came to take an opinion about radiation therapy. I also observed that while the parents looked very anxious, somehow the boy look very calm and quiet.
After examination and going through his case reports, I realized that this young man had stage three lung cancer and he would require a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Although we doctors master the art of hiding our emotions and reactions, I was still nervous at the idea of treating such a young man with radiation therapy. I asked him quietly if he ever consumed tobacco or smoked cigarettes. He persistently refused ever using any form of tobacco or any other substance of abuse. After a brief examination and counselling about the treatment, the parents moved out of my OPD chamber. This boy quietly stayed back in the OPD. He on his own then confessed and accepted that he had been smoking cigarettes for last four years. I asked him that four years back, he must have been a school student and how could he get access to cigarettes. He shared that in school, tobacco, cigarettes etc. were available through some secret routes. He even requested me in hushed up tone that I should not share this information with his parents as they will not be able to face and accept it. My parental instincts forced me to ask him if he regretted his smoking habit. He regretfully nodded and accepted that he made a mistake and he did it under peer influence.
I want to ask you all—where as a society are we heading? We parents send our children to schools and colleges for studying while some of them loose track and get deviated in wrong directions.
- World is going through one pandemic, and another is waiting and rising.
- It is our moral duty to save our children and the world from tobacco.
- There is only one way- this world needs “No Tobacco” movement by the people and for the people.