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Feb 5, 2009

Project Deepam Targeted 70 Lakh Woman

Women registering for screening under Project Deepam at Seethalakshmi Maternity Centre in Coimbatore on Wednesday. A rural and urban outreach project has screened over one lakh women in Coimbatore, the Nilgiris and Erode to check whether they suffered from cancer of the cervix or the breast.

‘Project Deepam’, a project of Sri Ramakrishna Institute of Oncology and Research, is not going to stop with this. It has set itself a target of screening 70 lakh women in the age group of 25 to 65 in order to detect cancer at a curable stage. The project was launched in 2005. The project also aims at sensitising people to the importance of early detection for effective treatment, Director of the Institute P. Guhan told presspersons on World Cancer Day on Wednesday. While the announcement of screening 1,00,084 women was made to mark the day, the other event was the opening of a room at the Coimbatore Corporation’s Seethalakshmi Maternity Centre on Brooke Bond Road to facilitate free screening.

“Women in the said age group can walk in for free pap smear and mammogram,” Dr. Guhan said. While the space for screening was being provided by the Corporation, the cancer institute would provide consultation by its doctors free of cost. The trust that ran free cancer treatment for poor children at the institute would provide medicines for the women diagnosed with cancer. Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra and Managing Trustee of SNR Sons Charitable Trust R. Venkatesalu were present at the inauguration of the free screening facility at the maternity home. The cancer institute is part of the SNR Sons Charitable Trust. Mr. Venkatesalu offered to provide furniture for the screening centre.

Mr. Venkatesalu said his trust would also provide a dental screening facility at the maternity home. Cases for surgery and treatment could be referred to the dental college of the trust (Ramakrishna group of institutions). Dr. Guhan said women turning up at other health centres of the Corporation in the city would be referred to the maternity home if they wanted to undergo free screening. As for the screening done already, 5,765 women were found to have dysplasia of the cervix (a pre-cancerous stage) and 4,323 had benign lump in the breasts. As many as 109 had cancer of the cervix and 110 had cancer in the breast.

The screening was done at 21 urban health posts (UHPs) and maternity homes of the Corporation in the city, 38 primary health centres (PHCs) and 12 Government Hospitals in the Coimbatore Health Unit District, 30 PHCs and eight UHPs of the Tirupur Urban Health District, 32 PHCs of Dharapuram Health Unit District, 34 PHCs and five UHPs of Erode District. The screening was also done at 52 tea estates in the Nilgiris District and also in more than 50 centres run by self-help groups, social welfare organisations, community organisations, women’s clubs and villages adopted by National Service Scheme units in colleges.

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