Mumbai: On World Cancer Day, AstraZeneca India, a leading science-led biopharmaceutical company, expands ‘Ganga Godavari Cancer Screening’, its flagship initiative dedicated to aid early detection of breast, oral and cervical cancer amongst women from under-served communities.
The initiative launched in 2019 has touched over 10,000 lives with 500+ screening camps and aims to double its reach in the next 2 years. The program has 6 active sites currently where associated NGO partners are testing and educating women on cancer and its risks. From a sustenance point of view, the initiative also encompasses educating anganwadi workers to catch signs and symptoms early. “Through the Ganga Godavari initiative, we are working to extend our reach to underserved populations – no matter who they are or where they live – to ensure equitable access to cancer services and to transform what it means to be diagnosed with cancer. In recognition of World Cancer Day, we stand with the cancer community to raise awareness around cancer detection, prevention and treatment, and to close the care gap by uniting our voices and taking action”, said Dr Sanjeev Panchal, Country President AstraZeneca India.
Early screening and right therapeutic approach significantly improves the rate of survival. Under National Health Mission, Indian government launched an operational framework in November 2016 for India’s first national cancer screening programme, mandating screening of individuals over 30 for oral, cervical and breast cancer. The Ganga Godavari programme reinforces this initiative in collaboration with NGOs including Indian Cancer Society and CAPED India. Women found at risk are then recommended for a detailed examination and opinion to the nearest health centres and hospitals.
“According to ICMR reports, the incidence of cancer in Indians is projected to ascent 29.8 million in 2025 from 26.7 million in 2021. The increasing cancer burden is a result of dynamic changes in lifestyle along with various environmental and genetic factors. Another important reason for the visible surge in numbers is the occurrence of amplified screening which results in timely detection. The need of the hour is to bridge the gaps in the Indian healthcare delivery system through innovative life-changing programmes. Initiatives like Ganga Godavari Cancer Screening programme reduces the burden of cancer on our healthcare systems, while improving patient health outcomes”, said Mridu Gupta, CEO, CAPED.
Thus far, the project has recommended about 500+ women for further check-ups. The program covers various cities including the states of UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in collaboration with implementation partners including Banaras Hindu University. All the positive cases have been referred to partner tertiary care hospitals for further treatment.