State Screening For Oral Cancer Among Its 30-plus Populace
Come December, Maharashtra will be screening all of its 30-plus population for oral cancer, the first state in the country
Come December, Maharashtra will be screening all of its 30-plus population for oral cancer, the first state in the country to do so. The initiative is the brainchild of state health minister Deepak Sawant, and the plan about implementation and training was discussed on Monday.
According to officials of the public health department, this initiative will see the state teaming up with NGOs, medical colleges as well as municipal corporations. It will be a door-to-door screening programme, where auxiliary nurse midwifes and multi-purpose workers will be trained to identify the suspected 30-plus patients who should be screened for the tumour. All government health centres will be turned into oral cancer screening centres.
Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health services (Pune circle), said, “The cancer is diagnosed at the later stages, which result in low treatment outcomes and considerable costs to the patients. Rural areas in middleand low-income families don’t have adequate access to trained providers. As a result, delay has also been largely associated with advanced stages of oral cancer. Earlier detection offers the best chance for long-term survival and has the potential to improve treatment outcomes and make healthcare affordable. Oral cancer in fringe areas and rural parts of the state affects those from the lower socio-economic groups, owing to a higher exposure to risk factors such as the use of tobacco.”
The health department has also teamed up with the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Cipla Palliative Care, Pune (Warje) and the Cancer Warrior Group, which have oncologists as members across the state. This will help in conducting surgeries and also provide palliative care.
Dr Gajanan Kanitkar, consultant surgical oncologist at Ruby Hall Clinic and an active member of the Cancer Warrior Group, shared, “Any wound inside the mouth or on the tongue, non-healing ulcers, oral hygiene of mouth and condition of teeth (loose or fallen) will be examined. During oral examination, if the patient is suspected to have oral cancer, a biopsy will be conducted. This can be very helpful as oral cancer can be cured totally if detected early, in stage I-II of the disease.”