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Mobile unit to detect cancer

The mobile unit. Picture by Ali Fauz Hassan

Guwahati: Piramal Swas-thya, an initiative of Piramal Foundation, launched a community-based cancer screening programme, DESH, here on Monday to detect cancer early, and thereby reduce mortality in Assam.

The Detect Early, Save Him/Her (DESH) programme aims to screen the population in Kamrup district for oral, breast and cervical cancer through mobile units, create community awareness, take people detected positive to a treatment centre, track and follow-up the cases.

The mobile unit is equipped with cutting-edge equipment, including a mammography unit, and is staffed by doctors, nurses and radiographers. The unit will screen patients from Monday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, those testing positive will be brought to B. Barooah Cancer Institute here.

Piramal Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Piramal Group.

Vice-chairperson of Piramal Group, Swati Piramal, while inaugurating the program, said, "We are targeting the 1.5 million men and women in the area (Kamrup district) which has the fourth highest incidence of cancer in the country. If detected early, survival rate is 80 per cent plus." Instead of waiting for people to come to diagnostic centres, screening for cancer and bringing those testing positive for treatment would reduce the mortality rate, she said, adding that they would monitor the programme and replicate the project across the country. Chief executive officer of Piramal Swasthya, Vishal Phanse, said 8,000 beneficiaries would be covered in a year. Assam has the highest proportional mortality rate because of cancer. In 2016, 85,000 cases were recorded in the state, according to the Population-based Cancer Registry Report of 2012-14. Nearly 30,000 new patients are added each year.

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