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Screening and Awareness Cancer Camps are a new SCAD initiative, delivered in partnership with the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai and Krishna Hospital, Tirunelveli. These community based camps aim to bring about an awareness of cancer and to screen for early detection. Women in rural villages do not have easy access to medical facilities and are extremely unlikely to go for screenings without symptoms. Through the Women’s Self Help Groups SCAD are able to educate women about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of cancer and to encourage regular screenings.
Two community based camps have been held so far and SCAD aim to deliver 4 camps every quarter in villages across the five SCAD area blocks. SCAD are ideal facilitators for this rural based enterprise because of the 5,000 strong Women’s groups and the 27 years of trust and experience within the villages. SCAD Volunteers and Animators coordinate the camps and provide a friendly face to all women that attend. Specialist administration staff, female doctors and female nurses from Krishna Hospital, Tirunelveli takes detailed medical histories and then deliver cervical and breast screening on site in a private and hygienic environment. There is also a separate area for men to receive oral screening. Women are made aware of the camps through the women’s self-help groups and through SCAD staff going from door to door prior to the camp day. Any abnormalities found during screenings will receive immediate further testing and diagnosis at the Krishna Hospital, Tirunelveli followed by referral to the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai. Any treatment costs will be nominal, based on individuals’ ability to pay.
These camps are vital in educating rural communities on the importance of early diagnosis and in detecting cancer cases in rural villages thus saving lives.