The challenge facing Australia in dealing with an expected 31 per cent increase in new cancer cases between 2001 and 2011 has earned a sixth-year medical student at The University of Western Australia first prize in a national essay competition run by Cancer Council Australia.
Sonakshi Sharma's essay, "Cancer Prevention is Better than Cure" was judged to be the most outstanding entry nationally and her prize includes a trip to the Netherlands to attend the World Health Organisation's two-week international summer school for medical students.
The summer school aims to help students to become familiar with cancer care in general practice and learn more about cancer-related problems in other countries. Cancer Council Australia hosts a national essay competition for medical students each year and the prize is awarded by Cancer Council Australia's Oncology Education Committee.
Sonakshi, who lives in Winthrop, begins by describing the prevalence of cancer then analyses the risk factors and preventative measures including screening.
She opens her essay with Louis Pasteur's quotation: "When meditating on a disease, I never think of finding a remedy for it, but instead, a means of preventing it." The main risk factors she covers in her essay include smoking, sun exposure, obesity, physical inactivity and a poor diet.
Sonakshi said she was looking forward to attending the summer school and hoped to continue to learn more about cancer, its prevention and treatment options during her medical career.
For more details of the competition and to read the winning essay, visit: https://www.cancer.org.au/HealthProfessionals/OncologyEducation/EssayCompetition.htm
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716