Pune: Breast cancer is on the rise in India. Every year 1 in 200 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 1 Lakh new cases occur. Tata Trusts not only recognise the possible threat that this disease poses to the lives of millions of women, but also believe that it is curable if detected early.
Early detection remains the most important strategy to counter breast cancer. However, lack of awareness in women about symptoms, screening modalities, self-examination and/or routine mammography leads to costly delays in diagnosis and treatment.
While Tata Trusts support and drive innovation across several sectors, the health portfolio centred on cancer care enjoys a special focus. Tata Trusts along with Prashanti Cancer Care Mission and Swasth India Foundation, has collaborated to help combat this disease that threatens many of the women in our country with the launch of their initiative titled #LosingIsNotAnOption, India's largest breast cancer screening drive, because for a women, losing either her life or her breast is not an option.
The launch event held at the Police Grounds in Pune, witnessed the presence of the Hon'ble Guardian Minister Shri Girish Bapat; Padmavibhushan Dr RA Mashelkar; national research professor, Dr LS Shashidhara, vice-president, Indian National Science Academy; Mr RK Krishna Kumar, trustee, Tata Trusts; R Venkatramanan, executive trustee, Tata Trusts and Dr CB Koppiker, surgical oncologist and managing trustee, Prashanti Cancer Care Mission. The diagnostic van was unveiled by popular celebrity and breast cancer awareness advocate Kajol Devgan who is also the brand ambassador of the mission.
A compelling campaign with a media mix comprising outdoor, radio, cinema halls and social media involving real women who have fought and defeated breast cancer was also launched to drive home the benefits of early detection and regular screening. The key message of the campaign is that breast cancer is curable if diagnosed early and hence the only way to prevent loss of life or breast is to get regular screenings done.
Speaking at the occasion, RK Krishna Kumar, trustee, Tata Trusts said, "Cancer care has been a key priority of the Trusts as part of our overall health portfolio. With breast cancer on the rise in India, we believe that it is imperative to build awareness, and encourage women to take preventive action. Through this initiative, we aim to get women to learn to recognise the threat, and undergo routine screening processes to curb the concern. Our endeavor is to enable a 'cancer-free' and 'cancer-screened' environment in Pune City and its suburbs."
With this initiative, women across Pune district will have access to state-of-the-art technology led mobile vans which are fully equipped to run the screenings and other minor procedures. The collaboration will aim at effectively carrying out spot screening and early detection of breast cancer. This mobile unit also saves valuable time and ensures timely delivery of results, thereby saving lives by detecting cancer at an early stage.
Dr CB Koppiker, renowned breast onco-surgeon and managing trustee, Prashanti Cancer Care Mission said, "Through this partnership, healthcare solutions which have higher rate of penetration and positive outcomes will become accessible and affordable to women." This project is aimed at defining an early diagnostic intervention aimed at delivering breast and cervical care of affordable excellence to the doorsteps. Its primary objective is to bring down the mortality and morbidity of the disease by diagnosing early.
India has witnessed an increase in mortality rates of breast cancer patients primarily due to lack of awareness regarding preventive measures, unaffordability of cancer treatment, dearth of technology driven innovations and unhealthy lifestyle choices. However, it must be noted that breast cancer has the longest latency period of 8 to 10 years, as compared to other forms of cancers. If patients undertake regular screening and self-examination, they may be able to detect it at an early stage and avail treatment. Preventive action can save the lives of those afflicted with this disease.
About Tata Trusts
Tata Trusts are amongst India's oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development. Tata Trusts seek to be catalysts in development through giving grants to institutions and executing large projects in the areas of Natural Resources Management, Rural Livelihoods, Urban Livelihoods & Poverty, Education, Enhancing Civil Society and Governance, Health and Arts and Culture. Trusts engage competent persons and government bodies, international agencies and like-minded private sector organizations to nurture a self-sustaining eco-system that collectively works across all these areas.
Tata Trusts continue to be guided by the principles of its founder Jamsetji Tata. The Trusts catalyze societal development while ensuring that initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation. In addition to promoting and facilitating initiatives in elementary education, Tata Trusts also awards fellowships, merits and scholarships to students pursuing higher studies. It grooms social scientists, cancer specialists, nuclear scientists and distinguished institutional administrators who in turn, have strived to make the country a power to reckon with in various fields including science and technology. The Trusts also support causes and initiatives that provide disaster relief and aides rescue work in case of calamities. The Trusts not only assists by providing grants and helping mobilize funds, it also offers on-ground support directly as well as in partnership with other stakeholders. For more information please visit http://tatatrusts.org/
About Prashanti Cancer Care Mission
Prashanti Cancer Care Mission, Pune is a registered charitable trust (established in 2001) mainly working to provide affordable cancer treatment and rehabilitation to cancer-affected families. Thanks to its generous patrons, the trust is also able to provide free cancer treatment to needy, underprivileged families surrounding Pune. Over the last decade, the trust has established Orchids Breast Health Clinic – a one-of-its-kind Center of Affordable Excellence for Breast Cancer in Pune. The trust is also active in breast cancer community sensitisation through public outreach activities, organising medical symposia, undertaking translational biomedical research and providing early and cheap breast cancer detection to the masses using a mobile mammography van.
About Swasth India Services
Swasth India Services Pvt. Ltd. is engaged in providing healthcare services to low-income segments in urban and rural India. Their main area of focus is providing last mile services in cancer. Besides this, they also offer primary care such as doctor consultation, tests, and treatment with drugs, consumables, tertiary care such as radiology test, inpatient treatment, and consultation with specialties, preventive-promotive health and computerised records. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
For more information, contact:
Mr Pritha Chatterjee