Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 2 : On the occasion of World Cancer Day to be observed on February 4, Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF), an initiative of the Government of Assam and Tata Trusts, has announced a free of cost, month-long awareness and cancer detection initiative across the State.

Under the initiative people will be screened for oral, breast and cervical cancers at the community level and  at Swasth Assam kiosks managed and run by ACCF.

In alignment with the theme of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) this year – “I Am and I Will”, ACCF aims to create awareness that it is possible to win against cancer.

As per experience of outreach teams of ACCF, 70 per cent of the cases reach out for medical help at an advanced stage, which results in higher morbidity and mortality rates.

The Government of Assam, in partnership with Tata Trusts, had initiated a distributed cancer care model by bringing world-class credible cancer care facilities closer to people’s homes in Assam, and making it more accessible. Accessible and affordable cancer treatments will be the mainstay of ACCF’s three-level cancer grid model in the State.

Emphasising early detection, Dr Sajal Sen, Chief Operating Officer of ACCF urged the people of Assam to get their health checkup done periodically. He said, “It is important for all to understand that majority of cancers are curable when detected early. ACCF provides health checkup of common NCDs - hypertension, diabetes, oral, breast and cervical health at Swasth Assam kiosks located at medical colleges in Dibrugarh, Barpeta, Tezpur and Diphu. Many more such screening facilities are likely to be operationalised in due course of time.”

The comprehensive cancer care infrastructure and equipping are on full swing in various locations such as Dibrugarh, Barpeta, Tezpur, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, Darrang, Diphu and Silchar. All these locations will have high end radiation centres as well, so that people do not have to go far and queue up.

In order to provide immediate service to patients, ACCF has daycare centres for chemotherapy at medical colleges in Dibrugarh, Diphu and Barpeta. The State-sponsored free-of-cost facilities are supported with state-of-the-art infrastructure and experienced oncologists.

Dr Sanjiv Chopra, chief executive of Tata Trusts’ cancer care programme, said, “Earlier people dropped treatment midway due to lack of funds or being unable to travel long distances to the hospitals. We are happy that people from remote locations have benefited from these centres and are even able to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.”

Besides these facilities, ACCF also has palliative care units at the medical colleges in Dibrugarh, Jorhat and at the State Cancer Institute, Guwahati, where patients in pain and distress are being cared for.