AstraZeneca India, together with The Banaras Hindu University, successfully rolls out cancer screening camp for women in Varanasi

  • This is the second such camp under AstraZeneca India’s Ganga Godavari Cancer Screening Programme, which aims to spread awareness and facilitate early detection of Oral, Breast, and Cervical Cancers at early stages among women.


Varanasi, India: AstraZeneca India (AstraZeneca Pharma India Limited), a leading science-led biopharmaceutical company, and the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) conducted a cancer screening camp for women in Varanasi today. This is the second such camp set up in and around Varanasi, as a part of the Ganga Godavari Cancer Screening programme, since the launch of its current phase in March 2021. The programme strives to spread awareness on the importance and the need for early detection of oral, breast, and cervical cancers in women and facilitate detection of such cancers at this specialised cancer screening camp. More than 100 women were screened in today’s camp, and 5 suspect cases were referred for further evaluation. 

The current phase of the program, first introduced in March of 2021, is being conducted in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, in consensus with NHM and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare( MoHFW). The Department of Community Medicine at the Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, acts as a nodal agency for this program. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, General Surgery and Dentistry provided an expert team of medical professionals for the provision of screening services at the Health and Wellness centre at Tikri. More than 300 women participated in the previous cancer screening camp held at Varanasi in March 2021. Fifteen of whom were then referred to the respective tertiary care hospitals for further management. 

Dr.Sangeeta Kansal, IMS, Banaras Hindu University, Department of Community Medicine, said, “As the cancer cases among women are on a rise, it’s very important to educate rural women about the importance of eary diagnosis. By understanding this need, a free medical check up camp for woman was organised today in Mallah, Tikri by AstraZeneca along with BHU, Doctors for you and Indian Cancer Society. The dentists and gynecologist from IMS-BHU Health conducted the check up.  The event saw an active participation with 105 women participants and also diagnosed 5 patients on the risk of first stage Cancer.”

The first phase of this programme was implemented in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. Till now, more than 76 camps have been conducted under the Ganga Godavari Initiative. 

Statistics suggest that about 1.22 lakh and 1.44 lakh new cases of cervical and breast cancers are added every year in India. According to WHO, India accounts for nearly one-third of the global cervical cancer deaths, with women facing a 1.6% cumulative risk of developing cervical cancer and 1.0% cumulative death risk from cervical cancer. Similarly, the cumulative risk of developing breast cancer is 2.7%, and the cumulative death risk is 1.5%. This challenge of high incidence is further compounded by the unfortunate situation of late detection and low awareness among the general population and even paramedic professionals.

Commenting on this, Dr. Anil Kukreja, Vice President – Medical Affairs & Regulatory, AstraZeneca India, said, “With regards to cancer and its treatment, early diagnosis is key. Many types of cancers, if diagnosed early, can be treated with curative intent with the help of modern medicine. As more women are affected with cancers in India, it is imperative that we conduct enough effective and consistent programs, especially in rural parts of the country, such as the Ganga Godavari Cancer Screening Programme enabling greater access to quality healthcare. Through this program, we have already touched the lives of more than 4,500 individuals and resulted in the early identification of more than 160 patients that were referred for futher treatment in effective disease management.”

Realising the benefits of early screening, the Government of India launched an operational framework for the country’s first national cancer screening program in November 2016. Under this, there will be mandatory screening for oral, breast, and cervical cancer in women over the age of 30. The Ganga Godavari programme aims to supplement the Government of India’s initiative of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre program of early screening and diagnosis of cancer patients. The ICS Helpline number is 1800-22-1951 for any information associated with cancer.