Pune: Breast cancer is on the rise in India. Every year 1 in 200 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 1 Lakh new breast cancer cases occur. Tata Trusts not only recognize the possible threat that this disease poses to the lives of millions of women but also that Breast Cancer is curable if detected early.
Early detection remains the most important strategy to counter Breast Cancer. However, lack of awareness in women about symptoms, screening modalities, self-examination and/or routine mammography leads to negligence; thereby, resulting in costly delays in diagnosis and treatment.
While Tata Trusts support and drive innovation across several sectors, the health portfolio enjoys a special focus, with Cancer Care as a key area within it. Tata Trusts along with Prashanti Cancer Care Mission and Swasth India Foundation, have collaborated to help combat this disease that threatens many of the women in our country with the launch of their initiative titled #LosingIsNotAnOption, India’s largest Breast Cancer Screening Drive, because for a women losing either her life or even her breast, is not an option.
The launch event held at the Police Grounds in Pune, witnessed the presence of R. K. K. Krishna Kumar, Trustee, Tata Trusts, Hon’ble Guardian Minister Shri. Girish Bapat, Padmavibhushan, Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, National Research Professor, Dr. L.S. Shashidhara, Vice-President, Indian National Science Academy, R. Venkatramanan, Executive Trustee, Tata Trusts and Dr. C.B Koppiker, Surgical Oncologist and Managing Trustee, Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. The diagnostic van was unveiled by celebrity and breast cancer awareness advocate Kajol Devgan; also the Brand Ambassador of Prashanti Cancer Care Mission.
A compelling campaign with a media mix comprising outdoor, radio, cinema halls and social media involving real women who have fought and conquered breast cancer, was also launched to drive home the benefits of early detection and urge women to get themselves screened regularly. The key message of the campaign is that breast cancer is not a lost case. It is curable if diagnosed early and hence the only way to prevent loss of life or breast is to get regular screenings done.
Speaking at the occasion, R. K. K. Krishna Kumar, Trustee, Tata Trusts said, “Cancer care has been a key priority of the Trusts as part of our overall health portfolio. With breast cancer on the rise in India, we believe that it is imperative to build awareness, and encourage women to take preventive action. Through this initiative, we aim to get women to learn to recognize the threat, and undergo routine screening processes to curb the concern. Our endeavor is to enable a ‘cancer-free’ and ‘cancer-screened’ environment in Pune City and its suburbs.”
With this initiative, women across Pune District will have access to state-of-the-art technology led mobile vans which are fully equipped to run the necessary screenings as well as other minor procedures. The collaboration will aim at effectively carrying out spot screening and early detection of breast cancer, to mitigate the increasing number of cases in the district. This mobile unit also saves valuable time and ensures timely delivery of results, thereby saving lives by detecting cancer at an early stage.
Dr. C.B Koppiker, renowned Breast Onco-surgeon and Managing Trustee, Prashanti Cancer Care Mission said “Through this partnership, healthcare solutions which have higher rate of penetration and positive outcomes will become accessible and affordable to women.” This project is aimed at defining an early diagnostic intervention aimed at delivering Breast and Cervical care of affordable excellence to the doorsteps of women. Its primary objective is to bring down the mortality and morbidity of the disease by diagnosing early.
India has witnessed an increase in mortality rates of breast cancer patients primarily due to lack of awareness regarding preventive measures, unaffordability of cancer treatment, dearth of technology driven innovations and unhealthy lifestyle choices. However, it must be noted that breast cancer has the longest latency period of 8 to 10 years, as compared to other forms of cancers. If patients undertake regular screening and self-examination, they may be able to detect it at an early stage and avail treatment. Preventive action can save the lives of those afflicted with this disease.
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