On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) will be conducting nationwide cervical and breast cancer screening camps for the female police staff, female members of police families, traffic police, Railway police, and CRPF families, between 30 – 65 years of age across India.
The camp will be conducted at over 350 centres through 210 of FOGSIs 258 affiliated societies between 9 am -2 pm.
Major centres include Mumbai (12 centres), Delhi (9 centres), Bangalore (7 centres), Ahmedabad (7 centres). States such as Punjab, Haryana and others which have greater numbers of CRPF personnel will also have large numbers of camps.
“The objective is to cover nearly one lakh women in the reproductive age group- among in the police force, CRPF and our army- who are working tirelessly under extreme conditions to serve the people of our country,” says Dr. Alpesh Gandhi, President FOGSI.
“When women are diagnosed in the advanced stages, we cannot save them. We want to raise awareness that cervical cancer is preventable and that it is crucial for women to go for cancer screening every 3-5 years between 40-65 years of age. At some screening centres, we are also planning an awareness programme for breast and cervical cancers prior to the programme,” Gandhi added.
Most of the breast and cervical cancer cases are found in the reproductive age group and are preventable and curable if detected early; for e.g., cervical cancer if detected and managed at an early stage has over 93% cure rate.
Currently, breast and cervical cancers are two of the leading types of cancers affecting Indian women. Approximately more than 80000 women die because of breast cancer in India every year. The estimated new cases of cervical cancer, India stands 2nd to China with a huge number of 96,922 new cases but is 1st in mortality with 68,000 reported deaths in 2017.
FOGSI sees this as a public health problem, which is completely preventable. These camps reflect a moral responsibility of FOGSIs members to carry forward the call of WHO, GOI and FIGO for eliminating cervical cancer by 2030.
Over 1500 manpower to be engaged in the screening camps
Breast cancer is detectable with a regular self-breast examination, sonography and mammography. Cervical cancer in the reproductive age group may be screened with VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid) method and peri-menopausal women with pap smear tests.
Patients with suspicious or positive reports will be referred to volunteer public or private cancer hospitals or volunteer laboratories who are ready to provide free services for further confirmation and further management.
“We have identified dedicated, trained and willing gynaecologists who are ready to provide their services free of charge as well as centres, laboratories and cancer institutes who are ready to provide their services complementary across India. Over 1500 doctors are involved in this process,” added FOGSI vice president Dr Anita Singh.
This massive initiative is supported by ISCCP (Indian society of colposcopy and cervical pathology), local Rotary clubs, Brahma Kumaris, various NGOs as well as DGP, DGI, CRPF heads, Police commissioners, and local police welfare organisations.