- Gaanth Pe Dhyaan’ aims to build awareness about the importance of breast self-examination for the early detection of breast cancer
- The initiative was first launched through an innovative event at Ranchi Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (RCHRC) and then conducted at Tata Medical Center in Kolkata and Sri Venkateswara Institute of Cancer Care & Advanced Research (SVICCAR), Tirupati
- Introduced today at Dibrugarh Cancer Centre, a unit of Assam Cancer Care Foundation- a joint initiative of the Government of Assam and Tata Trusts, the event was conducted in partnership with the MasterChef Season 7 Runner-up, Chef Santa Sarmah
Dibrugarh, December 20, 2023: Furthering its mission to raise awareness about the benefits of early detection for breast cancer, Tata Trusts today introduced, ‘Gaanth Pe Dhyaan’, an innovative initiative through a unique event hosted at Dibrugarh Cancer Centre, a unit of Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF)- a joint initiative of the Government of Assam and Tata Trusts. A part of the larger ‘Kaise Ka Cancer’ campaign, ‘Gaanth Pe Dhyaan’ aims to build awareness, encourage open conversations, and drive community action towards breast cancer by using the metaphor of ‘lumps in food’ and emphasizing the importance of breast self-examination amongst women.
Breast cancer disproportionately affects women in India, with over 50 percent1 of breast cancer cases in the country being diagnosed in the late stages. This delay in diagnosis and treatment comes from a lack of awareness and can be fatal, if not detected early. Tata Trusts is dedicated to turning the tide on the issue by engaging with women to educate them on the importance of early detection using a simple and innovative metaphor.
Cooking a meal for their families forms an integral part of most women's daily lives. Drawing inspiration from the meticulous care women put into cooking, especially in order to prevent the formation of lumps in their food, the 'Gaanth Pe Dhyaan' campaign draws a parallel, urging women to apply the same diligence to their health and self-examine their breasts regularly for any signs of a “gaanth” (lump), which could potentially be cancerous.
Continuing its journey across the nation, ‘Gaanth pe Dhyaan’ saw its fourth edition conducted in Dibrugarh today, in partnership with MasterChef Season 7 Runner-up, Chef Santa Sarmah. This follows its successful launch in Ranchi, in October, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a second leg at Tata Medical Center, Kolkata in early December, and its third edition at SVICCAR, Tirupati last week.
Captivating an audience, predominantly of women from local communities, with an interactive culinary demonstration at the event, Chef Santa Sarmah prepared the local favourite Narakhinha Soup, which helped to maintain relatability with the audience. Demonstrating a preparation of this soup, she discussed how lumps in food preparation can ruin the taste and texture of a dish and highlighted that they are equally undesirable in the breast. This metaphor forms the central pillar of the ‘Gaanth Pe Dhyaan’ initiative, encouraging women to give their bodies the same care and attention through breast self-examination, as they give to the meals that they cook. Energised by the event and the simple message, over 150 women registered for Breast Cancer screening at the Dibrugarh Cancer Care facility.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Nabajyoti Choudhury, Medical Director & Unit Head, Dibrugarh Cancer Centre, said, “The North-East of India has the highest incidence of cancer in the country, contributing significantly to India’s cancer burden. Even though breast cancer can be easily detected, its late diagnosis continues to remain a leading cause of mortality amongst women. ‘Gaanth Pe Dhyaan’, therefore, seeks to bring about behaviour change through screening by addressing a key barrier - fear. This initiative urges women to proactively take charge of their breast health through thorough monthly self-breast examinations, followed by regular clinical screening as a key step in early detection of breast cancer - one that can save lives.”
Gaanth Pe Dhyaan is a part of the Trusts’ ‘Kaise Ka Cancer’, a national awareness campaign, launched in Feb struary 2023, garnering over 20 million views across social and digital media. Through ‘Gaanth Pe Dhyaan’, the Trusts hope to use locally relevant and insight-driven activations to touch the lives of the communities they serve. The outreach for this activation is being done in partnership with Sanjeevani, United Against Cancer, an initiative of Federal Bank Hormis Memorial Foundation, News 18 Network, and Tata Trusts that aims to raise awareness and encourage conversations around the silent cancer epidemic. The collaborative effort seeks to drive positive sentiments towards early and consistent health tests and symptom recognition, both crucial aspects in the battle against cancer.
Since its inception in 1892, the Tata Trusts, one of India’s oldest philanthropic organisations, have played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of the Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyze development in the areas of health, education, nutrition, livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene, among others. The Trusts have pioneered efforts in the field of cancer care since the inception of the Tata Memorial Hospital in 1941. In 2017, Tata Trusts established Tata Cancer Care Foundation (formerly known as Alamelu Charitable Foundation) to implement its comprehensive Cancer Care Programme, based on the four pillars of awareness, access, affordability, and quality care. Through its efforts, over 20 facilities across six states- Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka — have been developed and augmented in collaboration with state governments and like-minded organizations. The Trusts are committed to downstaging the impact of cancer by flipping the ratio of early to late detection, through increased awareness and screening while improving the quality of life of patients and their families.
Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF) is a joint initiative of the Government of Assam and the Tata Trusts, established to create a three-tier comprehensive distributed cancer care network to provide accessible and affordable care for the underserved.
Since the year 2018 - after the incorporation of ACCF, the institution has undertaken the mission of setting up ten state-of-the-art cancer care facilities across the state of Assam in Barpeta, Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Kokrajhar, Diphu, Silchar, Darrang and Guwahati. These facilities are strategically located to ensure everyone has access to quality treatment without having to travel more than three hours from their home location.
All the facilities are equipped to deliver state-of-the-art treatment for cancer with the availability of advanced diagnostics and radiation therapy machines with qualified doctors who have been trained in reputed cancer education institutions in India.
The initiative’s main focus is to provide access to best-in-class affordable cancer care under the government’s flagship healthcare schemes - PMJAY and Atal Amrit Abhiyan. The facilities are digitally enabled by DiNC (Digital Nerve Centre) that has been set up within the premises of the State Cancer Institute (SCI) in Guwahati. This centre is connected to the three-tier hospital network in real-time, for the delivery of virtual care as well as through effective and efficient communication.
The Government of Assam is also working towards strengthening the continuum of cancer care and preventive services through extensive community-based activities focusing on downstaging by sensitizing masses through awareness, prevention, early detection, optimal treatment, and palliative care leveraging the existing state healthcare system as well as the capabilities of ACCF.