Community Based Mobile Screening Programme for Oral, Breast and Cervical Cancers: A Programmatic Insight from rural Assam, India

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.07.01.Art009

Authors : Subrata Chanda, Amal Chandra Kataki, Vishal Dogra, Srabana Misra Bhagabaty, Devesh Varma, Shailendra Hegde


The Kamrup district in Indian state of Assam has highest cancer incidence. The population, particularly in rural area has no access and resources for early cancer screening and care services. To fill this service gap, a not-for profit organization (Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute-PSMRI) in collaboration with semi-government institute (Dr. Bhubaneshwar Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati-BBCI) launched an innovative programme known as DESH (Detect Early, Save Her & Him) in rural Kamrup. The programme aims to reduce the proportion of late-stage diagnosis and mortality from oral, breast and cervical cancers through community-based awareness, screening and referral program.

During first year of program operations (November 2017 to June 2018), DESH screened 3937 beneficiaries across 96 villages in three blocks of rural Kamrup district. Out of the total screened population, 157 (4.0%) are initial screen positive (Oral 142; breast 7; cervix 8.) Out of all screen positives, only 62 visited the BBCI for further diagnosis and confirmation. Among screen positives, 4 beneficiaries are confirmed oral cancer cases (all male, 3 in stage 1; 1 in stage 3).

Ensuring continuous availability of doctors, greater public engagement and building community awareness of common cancers are some of the identified areas for improvement. In the long run, we see our program as an opportunity to build an evidence-based, cost-effective and replicable model for early detection of Oral, Breast and Cervical Cancers in resource-scarce settings.

Keywords: Community, DESH, Oral, Breast and Cervical Cancer, Mammography, Mobile Cancer Screening.


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