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CPAA: Cancer Detection & Cancer Awareness Programmes in India CPAA: Cancer Detection & Cancer Awareness Programmes in India
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Awareness and Early Cancer Detection 

All too often, when the doctor utters the word 'cancer', what the patient hears is "you are dying". The fact is it need not be so. Cancer is a dreaded disease, but the fear often arises out of ignorance and misconceptions, rather than any reality. Through its work at grass-root level, CPAA came to realize that one of the main problems in India, in the control of cancer was lack of knowledge about lifestyles and societal practices that caused 70 per cent of its occurrence.

With the highest incidence of cancers in the head and neck regions for men and cervix and breast for women, CPAA woke up to the realization that many of these cancers were preventable and curable had they been caught at an early stage. From this realization emerged CPAA's Awareness and Early Detection effort. Over the years, CPAA has invested a great deal of thought and effort into developing ways to raise public awareness about cancer and how it can be prevented.

Lectures | Camps | Clinics

LecturesLectures: As part of our preventive programme, we regularly hold lectures and camps at various sites. Awareness lectures arose out of the realization that most of the fear associated with cancer arose out of a lack of knowledge. We realized that people needed to be told cancer was preventable, detectable at an early stage, and curable if treated promptly. These lectures conducted in Hindi, English & Marathi lectures impart some general facts about cancer, discuss lifestyle correlations and lead on to describing the screening procedure. The tone is positive and reassuring, which encourages people to attend. Area or localities with high density of people at risk, i.e. at factories, banks, offices, mills and residential localities, even slums are first identified. We then establish communication with recognised community leaders, and plan the whole exercise with their co-operation. The lecture covers general information about cancer, different kinds of cancer, warning signs and symptoms, known causes, risk factors, effect of lifestyle, diet and cancer correlation, dangers of tobacco abuse, cancer status in India, women’s cancers, head and neck cancers & myths. Our efforts have taken us beyond corporate offices and factories to hotels, police stations, jails, and even red light areas. Alliances have been worked out with organizations such as CORO (Community Out Reach Organisation), CORP (Community Out Reach Programme), YUVA (Youth Voluntary Organisation) and Stree Mukti Sanghatana (Rag-pickers) to reach the underprivileged groups.

Organise awareness lecture | Download presentation (English / Hindi)


Cancer Screening Camps: 

Camp at RCFAccording to the World Health Organisation (WHO), most cases of cancer are detected only in the advanced stages, when they are untreatable. This is especially true in developing countries. The fact is that in the case of Head and Neck cancers, Cervical cancer and Breast cancer, i.e., the most common cancers in India, there are proven screening methods to catch the disease at an early stage when it is curable. The problem is that the patient at this stage is totally asymptomatic and will not, in the normal course of affairs, consult a doctor. CPAA’s Early Detection and Awareness programme was developed from recognition of the need for a patient-friendly, non-invasive screening mechanism that would be effective enough to detect cancer early, yet be non-intimidating so that people would be willing to come in and be tested. Typically, camps follow our awareness lectures. The screening consists of examination by our panel of doctors including a surgeon, a physician, a gynecologist and an ENT specialist. A blood sample is taken for CBC test and a Pap smear test is carried out for women. Initially, the camps were organized at factory premises, the idea being to reach out to people with a perceived high risk. Over the years they have become more and more popular, and have been held in banks, mills and factories and industrial areas, residential colonies, colleges, for street children at shelters, commercial sex workers etc.


Cancer Screening Clinics: Statistics show that the most common cancers in India - the Head and Neck cancers, cervical cancer and breast cancer – are the very cancers that can be easily detected at an early stage. Oral cancers show up in the form of white patches (leucoplakia), black patches (melanoplakia), red patches (erythroplakia), submucous fibrosis and difficulty in fully opening the mouth. These can be easily detected during an oral examination. Cervical cancer can be detected through a Pap smear, a painless test, which involves scraping cells from the cervix during a pelvic examination. A microscopic examination of the smear can identify abnormal cells even in a pre-cancerous stage (dysplasia). A firm lump, small changes or discharge from the nipples are early signs of breast tumour.

CPAA runs a diagnostic clinic and pathology lab at Naigon (Mumbai) (Address | Map). This clinic offers free cancer screening on Tuesdays between 2 - 3.30 pm and for Cancer Policy Screening and general public on Wednesdays between 2 - 3.30 pm. The screening includes check-ups by: an ENT specialist, a general physician, gynecologist, surgeon and pathological tests. The Naigaon centre boasts of state of the art facilities for all blood tests, Pap smear tests, X-ray, sonography, mammography, ECG and colposcopy. These facilities are made available at subsidised rates. At the clinic, women are also instructed on how to perform an effective Breast Self Examination. The report from these test results are acceptable qualification for the CPAA’s Cancer Insurance Policy.

Well Women's Clinic is an awareness/diagnostic effort for women from the lower economic strata. CPAA provides follow- up services with free investigations including the expensive sono-mammography to take a suspected patient through to diagnosis. Taking cognizance of the growing incidence of prostrate cancer in men, we launched the Well Men's Clinic, a diagnostic facility for males, in 2005. Free Cancer screening is currently available at the Naigaon Center. The rates for camps in Mumbai are 350 on weekdays, Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays. Camps conducted outside Mumbai as charged as per distance. CPAA also conducts free awareness lectures & ENT screening camps open to public in the last week of May every year to commemorate World No Tobacco Day. CPAA has also opened tobacco counseling cells and screening centers in four major jails in Mumbai for its inmates.

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