Karnataka to start doorstep screening of oral and breast cancers along with other NCDs under ‘Gruha Arogya’

February 4 is observed as World Cancer Day and the theme this year is ‘Close the care gap’

February 03, 2024 10:10 pm | Updated February 05, 2024 06:12 pm IST - Bengaluru

Facilitating early detection of oral, breast, and cervical cancers in the population, the State government is all set to roll out ‘Gruha Arogya’ under which door-to-door screening of these cancers along with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will be taken up.

The scheme — which is awaiting the State Cabinet’s approval — is likely to be rolled out by the end of this month in eight districts in the initial phase. People aged above 30 in every family in Ramanagara, Tumakuru, Belagavi, Gadag, Ballari, Yadgir, Dakshina Kannada, and Mysuru will be screened.

To create awareness about cancer, February 4 is observed as World Cancer Day. The theme for this year is ‘Close the care gap’.  In India, while the leading cancers among males are lung, oral cavity, stomach, colorectum, and oesophagus, in females, cancers of the breast, cervix, ovary, and oral cavity are in leading position.

Doorstep screening

Srinivasa G., State Deputy Director (Non-Communicable Diseases), told The Hindu on Saturday that teams from Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) comprising a community health officer (CHO), ASHA workers, and primary healthcare officers will visit 20 homes each in their jurisdiction on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

“These teams will cover nearly 1,000 homes under each HWC in three months to screen oral and breast cancers (and if they have any symptoms of cervical cancer) along with diabetes and hypertension, on the doorstep of people. If the team detects the possibility of cancer among those screened, they will be referred to the nearest community health centre or taluk hospital for more investigations, confirmation, and further course of treatment. Similarly, people with suspected cases of diabetes and hypertension will receive teleconsultation from doctors, and if confirmed, medication for three months,” Dr. Srinivasa said.

The CHOs will update any positive case on the NCD portal with their ABHA IDs to create a database of people with these diseases and help them access the necessary medicines. They will also put up colour-coded ‘Gruha Arogya’ stickers outside homes, which will also indicate the health status of the residents, he explained.

New cancer cases

V. Lokesh, director of the State-run Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, said Karnataka is witnessing an estimated 87,400 new cancer cases annually. At any point in time, there are more than 37.5 lakh cancer cases observed in India and about 2.4 lakh cases in Karnataka. In Bengaluru, over 6,300 and 8,300 male and female cancer cases are registered per year, respectively, he said.

“If diagnosed early and optimally treated, cancers can be cured. Unfortunately, over 60% of patients present in an advanced stage at hospitals. The best way to fight cancer is by prevention and by avoiding or reducing probable risk factors. In recent years, remarkable changes in treatment combined with early detection have made many cancers treatable,” Dr. Lokesh added.

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