Despite the large burden of disease in India and a cancer mortality rate of 71%, there is no nationwide, government sponsored public health policy on the prevention of cancer. Nagpur has a significant number of medical professionals in government and private hospitals, yet the city has the unenviable title of “India’s Cancer Capital”.
Screening for breast and cervical cancer is the best means of helping to reduce the number of deaths in women. However, women themselves are reluctant to undergo screening; firstly because of the intimate nature of the examinations and secondly because women from poorer sections of society simply can’t afford time off work; unless and until illness prevents them from working.
Women in Need regularity organises breast and cervical screening within the heart of the city’s deprived communities. With the support of doctors, nurses and social workers, the charity conducts screening in local community centres. Prior to screening, WIN’s social workers conduct house to house surveys, promoting the importance of screening.
Recently we arranged screening in “Vijay Nagar”, an area predominantly occupied by labour workers. Research has highlighted that women from this section of society have a higher prevalence of cervical cancer.
Gynaecologist Dr Rohini Patil along with her team, examined 32 women for the clinical symptoms of breast and cervical cancer. Though we are awaiting the PAP smear results, 7 women presented very worrying clinical symptoms.
If someone is diagnosed with cervical or breast cancer, then what happens?
Sadly, concessions in cancer treatment are not available to all and most women will be unable to afford treatment. WIN however is committed to supporting women diagnosed with cancer through our screening programs.