Shortage of screening units hits breast cancer diagnosis in Karnataka

Shortage of screening units hits breast cancer diagnosis in Karnataka

Shortage of screening units hits breast cancer diagnosis in Karnataka

The number of breast cancer cases has increased across the state in the last four to five years, but the number of screening centres has remained the same.

Doctors are now demanding that more clinical breast examination centres are set up in tier-two and tier-three cities and Accredited Social Health Activist (Asha) workers trained for the purpose.

Dr S P Somashekhar, honorary secretary of the Association of Breast Cancer Surgeons of India, told Deccan Herald that Bengaluru has at least 60 mammography and screening centres. Tier-two cities like Mysuru, Hubballi, Davangere and Belagavi have just one each, while there is none at the taluk or village level.

The number of breast cancer cases has increased more than that of cervical cancer.

Every year 1.5 lakh women are diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease is in an advanced stage in 60% of these patients. Mumbai accounts for 32.6% of the breast cancer cases in the country. Bengaluru is close behind with 32.3%, Delhi ranks third with 29.6% of the incidents reported annually. Just 1% of women in India undergo clinical breast cancer examination. This is because of lack of awareness and facilities, Somashekhar said.

The association is requesting the state government to help increase facilities. Last month, the Union government took the initiative to increase awareness so as to reduce cases of cervical and breast cancer. As part of the initiative, Asha workers will be trained to conduct breast cancer screening.

Initially, machines used by sonologists and gynaecologists for ultrasound scanning will be used. These machines can be used with modifications till dedicated centres are established, Somashekhar said.

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