There are three types of most common cancers – breast, uterine cervix and oral – in India and they account for one third or nearly 35 per cent of the country’s cancer burden. All of them are usually detectable at early stages, and malignancies of the oral cavity and cervix have precancerous stages that are amenable to secondary prevention. If the disease is detected at an early stage, the chances of curing it increase manifold. But most of the time patients are diagnosed with cancer at stage III and IV and in such a scenario, they don’t respond to medicines properly and hence the disease becomes incurable. Therefore, screening and early detection of these three cancers can remarkably reduce the cancer burden in India.
Keeping this in mind, the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR) started an online initiative to give health care providers – be it a doctor of Medical/ Dental/ AYUSH streams, staff nurses and Medical Social Workers (MSW) or public health professionals – an insight into cancer screening. The initiative, named ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), is an online (live streaming) training program that can be attended using just a smartphone.
“ECHO is a kind of telementoring in which we increase the capacity of doctors or paramedical workers like ANM (auxiliary nurse midwife) with the use of internet connectivity in smartphones or laptops. Under this program we give an insight into the three main types of cancer screenings,” NICPR director Dr Ravi Mehrotra said while speaking to News Nation.