Prevention, Early detection of cancer and providing Treatment support
India suffers from raising incidence of cancer at its 3rd and 4th stage, wherein the treatment and saving of lives become very challenging. This can be effectively controlled through creating awareness, performing early diagnosis and providing treatment, so that precious lives could be saved. This has become more critical as the Indian Council of Medical Research or ICMR has recently projected that India is possibly looking at over 17 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8 lakh deaths related to the disease by the year 2020. Studies have indicated that the mortality rate can be effectively reduced from 30% to 80%, using pre-screening and early diagnosis approach.
Mission of Udhavum Ullangal
Udhavum Ullangal has embarked on a long term program to reduce mortality in rural Tamil Nadu by pre-screening and identifying cancer cases early and subsequently supporting their treatment. Over the last 8 years it has conducted 1339 camps in rural Tamil Nadu and screened 28,607 people, while creating awareness among 107,452 people.
85 cancer cases have been identified and 50+ are at various stages of treatment currently. 530+ cases are under high risk category, requiring constant follow up.
Methodology and infrastructure
Udhavum Ullangal has established a subsidiary unit, “Nellai Cancer Care Centre” with the following infrastructure:
- Medical team including the Physician and Oncologist
- Nurses and medical laboratory technicians
- Well equipped cytology laboratory
- Medical van to conduct camps in rural areas
- Consulting facilities at Tirunelveli
- Video Colposcopy and other related equipments
Udhavum Ullangal has established a network of NGOs, using which it accesses and conducts screening camps in rural areas of Tirunelveli district, primarily and also in adjacent areas. Both awareness creation and screening take place in the camps for oral, breast and cervical cancers (by clinical examination and also through lab studies using VIA / VLI & Pap smear tests). Identified potential cases are subsequently invited to the consulting centre for further investigation. Subsequently Udhavum Ullangal guides and supports those having cancer abnormalities for further treatment. Udhavum Ullangal also extends its support to those already diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment, by way of further diagnosis and better treatment.
A new initiative of Udhavum Ullangal is to provide Palliative Care, to those who are terminally ill and suffering from cancer. This care, as we are aware, is in great demand among the poor and rural population, but the supply / provider of such care is less and rare in government and private sector.
Near Term Plan
- Udhavum Ullangal plans to continue the current screening process and support the cancer affected, which costs approx. Rs.60.00 lakhs per annum.
- The Palliative care support needs to be expanded to cover more areas within Tirunelveli district. This includes providing home care service and also extended support during the weekdays.
- Establishing a tumour board consisting of various specialities of cancer treatment for more accurate diagnosis and better treatment.
- Expanding diagnosis and treatment support at Tirunelveli by leasing space in a leading hospital and supporting poor and deserving cancer patients. Udhavum Ullangal will facilitate the patients in availing government aid and insurance.
- Expanding the current nutritional assistance program to the needy cancer patients.
Long Term Plan
- Expand the scope of pre-screening and diagnosis to other districts of Tamil Nadu.
- Expand the scope of cancer treatment.
- Construct a hospital at Tirunelveli to provide affordable and holistic cancer treatment, at our own facility (while availing government subsidy and insurance). Land of 5.35 acres size has already been acquired. Planning for the same has commenced already.
- Spread awareness across State in a much larger scale, in our objective of effective early detection.
- Financial assistance to continue the current program in 2019
- Financial assistance to expand the current program in other geographies
- Infrastructure support to construct the cancer hospital at Tirunelveli, for which the land is already acquired.