Nellai Cancer Care Center

A Joint venture of Udhavum Ullangal, Chennai, Cancer Institute (WIA), Adyar and Krishna Hospital, Palayamkottai

Udhavum Ullangal has been working for cancer control and prevention for over a decade. It assists the poor cancer patients in treatment and rehabilitation with the help of the Cancer Institute. The plight of the cancer patients and their family members and, the extent of their suffering, stimulated Udhavum Ullangal to expand their activities for cancer care, in particular reaching to the rural areas (Down south) where the care is limited. The main focus is to educate the public on the fact that cancer is curable if detected early, Cancer is preventable and to dispel myths about cancer among the public. Also to encourage the public to come forward for screening for early detection.

Hence, Udhavum Ullangal in tie up with Cancer Institute (WIA) and Krishna Hospitals, Tirunelveli started a permanent screening centre, creating cancer and tobacco awareness, conduct camps and provide early detection services with trained personnel and recommend necessary arrangements for treatment. This centre was inaugurated by Dr.V.Shanta, Chairman, Cancer Institute (WIA) on 2nd October 2011 at Tirunelveli. The importance of this project lies in the simple but proven fact upto 50% of cancer could be prevented if identified early, as if it goes beyond initial stage, cannot be cured, which would be expensive.

The team will select areas in the coverage areas of the clinic and conduct cancer awareness programs and screening camps. Tobacco cessation education and counseling, Oral cancer screening, Clinical Breast Examination, Cervical Cancer Screening with VIA and eventually HPV testing will be provided. Screened positive subjects will be evaluated and managed by the Medical Officer at the satellite clinic regularly or on fixed days in a week.

Dr. Shanta’s Report about the centre:

The magnitude of the problem of cancer in India is reflected in the annual burden. Over the last 2 decades the burden has increased from 493000 in 1984 to 806,000 in 2004 with a 1% annual increase. It is expected to cross a billion by 2015.

The common cancers in women are uterine cervical cancer, breast and oral cancer (60% of all cancers in women). Among men, 40% of cancers are tobacco related. Today, although, we have the potential and expertise to cure 2 out of 3 of the common cancers, we are curing only 1 out of 3. The major obstacle to early detection is the unfounded fear of cancer, lack of awareness about cancer that cancers in these common cancers are not only curable in the early stage but preventable.

Prevention is better than cure. The thrust area in cancer control is cancer education, awareness about cancer, early detection and prevention. Towards this major effort, the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai has taken a leadership role to train personnel for early detection and also for cancer education.

The Tirunelveli Cancer Prevention Centre is a successful project. The screening and cancer education programmes are conducted by personnel trained by Cancer Institute(WIA) and is supported by Udhavum Ullangal, a major service organization involved in various charitable activities in education and medi care.

The initiative of Udhavum Ullangal in accessing the partnership with Krishna Hospital, Tirunelveli is indeed commendable. We need more such centres to achieve our goal. It is heartening that the Cognizant Foundation is funding the project as part of their corporate social responsibility. I wish that more corporates will come forward to establish more such centres.

In the last 6 months (the project was inaugurated on 2nd October 2011), 20 awareness camps attended by 40 persons at each camp and 7 screening centres with attendance of 30 on an average have been held. So far 768 persons have benefited from the project. Cancer and pre cancers diagnosed have been admitted or being counselled for cancer treatment.


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