BHUBANESWAR: Riding on the success of paddy procurement to power bill collection and serving mid-day meals, Odisha government has now decided to engage members of self-help groups (SHGs) in spreading cancer awareness among women.
Members of Mission Shakti will help women in their respective localities during screening of cancer by accompanying them for confirmation of diagnosis at tertiary care facilities and follow-up of confirmed cases.
They will also create awareness on cancer by door-to-door visit and remove the stigma and fear attached with the disease. Besides, they will help people recognise the early signs and symptoms of cancer enabling them to seek treatment at an early stage.
The women SHG members will educate people about the key risk factors, since more than 30 per cent (pc) of cancer cases could be prevented by modifying lifestyle or avoiding the risk factors. They will inform people about the importance of regular screening and check-ups.
A senior health official said that breast and cervical cancer are rapidly rising among women and the two are most common in the country. Oral and lung cancers, which are preventable, are also the highest among men and women in urban as well as rural population.
Many women present with stage III or IV breast cancer due to ignorance and social stigma leading to surgery and extensive treatment. Early detection is essential for better management and treatment. If detected early, there will be better chances of recovery, he said.
"It has been decided to prepare a strategy in consultation with the Mission Shakti department and send it to the government for approval by the end of this month. NGOs will also be engaged for cancer care service delivery. The services will start once it gets the nod of the Chief Minister," the official informed.
The State government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 577 crore over next five years under its ambitious Odisha Cancer Care Programme that aims at spreading cancer care facilities across Odisha.