Stress on awareness programmes at primary and secondary institutional level "Only 25 per cent of 2,500 women contacted during the survey had knowledge about self-examination of breasts to detect at early stage"
TIRUNELVELI: A recent study conducted by a group of pre-final MBBS students of Tirunelveli Medical College (TVMC) on `Breast cancer in Tirunelveli Corporation area', has revealed that only 25 per cent of the 2,500 women contacted during the survey had knowledge about self-examination of breasts to detect at the early stage the second most common cancer found among women.
Another study conducted by a different group of students on `Syndromic approaches in management of sexually transmitted infections in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari district' has shown that doctors serving in the State-run health centres and institutions had better knowledge than the medical fraternity working for private hospitals in diagnosing the sexually transmitted infections on just observing the symptoms.
These two "vital" findings are going to be presented in a conference to be held between January 9 and 12 in Chennai on `Training in epidemiology and public health networking (TEPHENET)', in which doctors from South East Asia and Western Pacific countries are expected to participate.
A Thiruvananthapuram-based NGO, Health Action by People, in association with the Department of Community Medicine, TVMC, conducted the surveys and awarded Rs. 13,000 for each projects.
While Fouzal Hithaya, Venkatesan and Rajkumar conducted the study on breast cancer, Danny Jayanand, Azhagesan and Murugesa Lingaperumal took the survey on sexually transmitted infections.
Since the detection of breast cancer at Stage I through self-examination reduced the mortality rate drastically and the percentage of women having exposure to self-examination was very low, there should be more awareness programmes for women on the normal and abnormal science of breasts. Every woman above 15 should be imparted knowledge on the simple technique of self-examination of breast, the study suggested.
When the students contacted 1,600 people from different groups comprising doctors, nurses, interns and the public for the survey on sexually transmitted infections in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts, they came to know that most of the people with "suspected symptoms" approached only quacks and not qualified doctors for cure.
Hence, sustained awareness programmes should be organised at the primary and secondary institutional level, i.e. primary health centres, community health centres etc., on sexually transmitted infections.
"Though we've completed 10 short-term projects, two of them have been recognised as quality material to be presented in the Chennai conference. This is the first time the two studies conducted by the students of TVMC are going to be presented in an international conference," highly placed TVMC sources said.