The screening exercise, in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association (IMA), along with Indian Dental Association (IDA) and Medica Superspecialty Hospital, is likely to start by July 1 and is expected to be carried out at all 16 boroughs under KMC. “The proposal for a cancer screening programme is a very positive step. Now every ward has a primary health centre, where such screening can be done,” said KMC mayor Firhad Hakim, also the urban development and municipal affairs minister. The screening camps will focus primarily on the detection of three most common cancer—oral, breast and cervical.
The decision for the programme was taken on Tuesday during a World No-Tobacco Day programme. An MoU is expected to be finalised within a week. While IMA, IDA and Medica will provide the manpower to conduct the screening, KMC will support the programme by offering the space. “We will work out a plan within seven days of signing the MoU so that the programme can be started by July 1. We will also publicize this initiative in all wards so that people attend these screening camps,” said KMC deputy mayor and MMiC (health) Atin Ghosh.
According to doctors, about 75% cancer cases in Bengal are caused by tobacco use. Tobacco contains 70 chemicals that can cause cancer, including that of lungs, oral, cervical, head and neck, bladder and oesophagus. “The screening should help detect cancer early. In the beginning, we propose to have a screening programme once a month across all 16 boroughs,” said Trinamool MP Santanu Sen, a doctor and health adviser to KMC.
“People stopping smoking and chewing tobacco products can go a long way in preventing cancer. These screening camps will help in early detection, which will make treatment more effective with higher survival rate,” said head and neck onco surgeon Sourav Datta, director at Medical Cancer Hospital. Medica will provide free service to those needing basic investigations, such as mammography, oral biopsy or pap-smear for cervical cancer confirmation. Cardiologist Rabin Chakraborty, also the senior vice-chairman at Medica, pointed out that in addition to health issues, tobacco was hazardous for the environment as well.
“Tobacco use causes oral and dental problems, with many getting oral cancer. These screening camps should ensure early detection for effective treatment,” said dental surgeon Raju Biswas, secretary IDA (West Bengal).