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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 139-145

A population-based screening program for early detection of common cancers among women in India – methodology and interim results

Department of Preventive Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, E. Borges Marg, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
G A Mishra
Department of Preventive Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, E. Borges Marg, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: The study was supported by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India under the Eleventh Five Year Plan. Tata Memorial Hospital partly subsidized the treatment cost for the patients and part of it was supported by the Women’s Cancer Initiative (WCI) and the DAE. The WCI also donated a mobile screening vehicle for the program, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.175581

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Background: Cancers of the uterine cervix, breast, and oral cavity accounted for 134,420, 115,251, and 24,375 cases, respectively, and were responsible for 52.8% of the total cancers among women in India in 2008. Aim: The major objectives were to create awareness regarding common cancers among women, to detect pre-cancers of the uterine cervix and oral cavity, and early cancers of the breast, uterine cervix, and oral cavity, by conducting screening with simple, low-cost technology, within the community, and to facilitate confirmation of diagnosis among the screen positives and treatment and follow-up among the diagnosed cases. Settings And Methods: This is a community-based screening program for early detection of breast, uterine cervix, and oral cancers, being implemented among the socioeconomically disadvantaged women in Mumbai, India. The process involves selection of clusters, household surveys, health education, and screening the eligible women for breast, uterine cervix, and oral cancers, by primary healthcare workers, at a temporarily set-up clinic within the community. The program is planned to cover a 125,000 disadvantaged population in five years. Results: Twenty-one thousand and fifteen people, with 4009 eligible women, have been covered to date. The compliance for screening for breast, cervix, and oral cavity has been 85, 70, and 88% and the screen positivity rates are 3.9, 14.9, and 3.9%, respectively. Twenty-seven oral pre-cancers, 25 cervix pre-cancers, one invasive cancer of the breast, two of the cervix, and one oral cavity cancer have been diagnosed among the screened women and all of them have complied with the treatment. Conclusions: The program is raising awareness about the common cancers and harms of tobacco among the disadvantaged women population in Mumbai. It is also helping in detecting pre-cancers and cancers among asymptomatic women and is assisting them in receiving treatment.


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