Times of India | 1 month ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:51 am
PANAJI: The state screened 50,019 women for breast cancer till December 2022 of which 24 tested positive for the disease.The target is to screen two lakh women for breast cancer over a period of two years, health minister Vishwajit Rane told reporters on Monday at an event organised to celebrate the completion of 50,000 screenings. The screenings were conducted under ‘Swasth Mahila, Swasth Goa’ an initiative of Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Foundation, supported by the Goa government, the SBI Foundation and UE Lifesciences.The purpose of the exercise, said Rane, is to facilitate early detection so that treatment can be started as early as possible.In Goa, among all cancers, the incidence of breast cancer is high among the above-30 female population. “Around 40% of patients are diagnosed in advanced stages due to lack of screening,” said director of health services Dr Geeta Kakodkar.The Goa Medical College’s (GMC) department of surgery treats an average of 25 breast cancer cases a month. “There is also a steep rise in gastrointestinal cancers, and the GMC has developed a special endoscopy unit. Also, a complex ‘whipples’ procedure is performed on patients suffering from pancreatic cancer,” said GMC dean, Dr S M Bandekar. Every month, on average, around 130 cases of solid organ tumors are operated on and 186 cancer patients are treated at the GMC.Bandekar said that preparations to start a surgical oncology unit have been completed.Stating that Goa is the only state in the country that provides free cancer treatment, Rane said, “Recently, a young boy from Sattari underwent 25 sessions of chemotherapy at the GMC. Had the facility not been available at GMC, the treatment would have cost him around Rs 9 lakh.” Kakodkar said that a rise in cancer has also been seen due to tobacco consumption. Tobacco cessation centres at the North and South district hospitals provide counselling and pharmacotherapy. Awareness programmes are also conducted, said Kakodkar.