Cancer screening campaign in Meghalaya

Roko cancer trust along with state government to screen entire population of Meghalaya for various types of cancers free of cost.

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Sonal Matharu | November 11, 2010



January 2011 onwards, Meghalaya’s entire population will be screened for various types of cancers free of cost using the best available screening techniques in the world. This initiative is taken by a British-based MKC Roko Cancer Trust in the state. Five lakh population in the state spread over 8,000 sq km area will be screened for breast, cervical and oral types of cancers in the second phase of the campaign which will be launched in the east, west and south Garo Hills with the help of the state government. “Fully equipped mobile cancer detection units will go door-to-door and the tests will be done on the spot. People will not have to go to any diagnostic labs and medical centres,” said G L Mahajan from Roko Cancer Trust in Delhi. Oncologists and radiologists from across India have volunteered for the campaign and would be travelling with the unit. Mobile cancer detection buses are used by the trust and each bus costs Rs one crore. In the first phase of the campaign, which was started on April 15, 2010 at Civil Hospital, at Shillong, Khasi region was covered. It examined 4,000 people for breast, cervix and oral cancers in 63 camps in remote areas out of which 648 people were further investigated and 24 people were advised for advanced level of examinations. The average cost per person screened is Rs 1,500 which is borne by the trust, he added. The campaign would end in 2013. An awareness drive was also conducted by the trust wherein the masses were educated about the disease to ensure community support during screening. Documentaries on breast cancer were screened and breast self-examination technique was taught to all women attending the camp. Pamphlets in local regional language are also distributed. Roko cancer Indian chapter’s director Isha Bhandari said, "In a country like ours, if we pick up cancer at an early stage, we can avoid huge costs. Chemotherapy is expensive and painful. So it's best if it can be avoided". The trust has in the past organised cancer screening campaigns in Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa. But Meghalaya is the first Indian state to have a cancer screening campaign for the entire population.

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