New Delhi: Viewing the rising rates of cancer in India, the Health Ministry is set to make cancer screening mandatory for people after acquiring the age of 30. The government has also introduced operational guidelines for the screening and management of Cancer in the country.
The screening service will be provided at the sub centre/ Primary Health Centres level for three most common cancers prevailing in the country, namely oral, cervix and breast cancer, which account to 34 per cent of all cancers in India.
The first project of testing people for cancer will start in November this year and will take place in Agartala.
In the first phase, 100 districts have been located by the government that will be initiating the cancer prevention program, under the guidelines. It will be taken further to other districts and states as well as a strong act towards early detection and prevention from cancer.
In a statement to IndiaToday, Union Health Minister, JP Nadda said, “Early detection of cancer can lead to better health outcomes. This initiative of implementing population level screening for common cancer can save many precious lives and improve quality of life of many more. Population level screening envisages screening for risk factors, which will generate awareness on healthy living, thereby focusing on prevention of the diseases. Cancer share common risk factors with several other common Non-Communicable Diseases, such as diabetes and heart diseases.”
Experts suggest that the objective of introducing the guidelines by the government is to initiate a step forward for prevention of cancer and seeing to the next steps after screening at the sub centre/ PHC level for these three common cancers, which have spread across the country.
As per the operational guidelines, the first level screening will be undertaken by the mid-level providers at the Health and Wellness Centers (Sub centers), and by staff nurses at the Public Health Centres.
Explaining the initiative, Dr. Ravi Mehrotra, Director, National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, stated “till now, there were no operational guidelines for cancer in the country. The major focus was on heart and diabetes. But, since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about having a framework for cancer in three months, the ministry took it very seriously. He had made this announcement on March 31. We were asked to have a meeting with the experts from all parts of the country in coordination with WHO and the Ministry of Health.”
He added to the conversation that “The aim is to ensure that screening for all cancers is provided as close to the home as possible by competently trained personnel in well equipped facilities and ensuring privacy. This framework is intended to provide guidance to states for the management of these three common cancers in rural and urban areas.”