The Ministry of Women and Child Development has recommended introducing a compulsory medical card for women for getting their breasts and ovaries examined for cancer.
Addressing a gathering at an event at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) in New Delhi, WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi on Saturday said mammography scares women and underlined the need to fight the stigma attached to cancer.
“Women are either scared or are prevented from going for medical examinations. So, my ministry has recommended for a compulsory medical examination card for women, which will contain data on check-up of breasts, ovaries, and detection of TB and anemia.
“I hope this will help in prevention of diseases in women,” she said.
The hospital hosted the day-long event on breast cancer awareness and experts interacted with a group of women, which included breast cancer survivors or those who had someone in their families affected by the disease.
The minister urged the media to create greater awareness on breast cancer and said, her ministry may think of making a campaign film with a celebrity.
“Early detection by various techniques including self-examination, healthy lifestyle and avoiding alcohol and smoking can go a long way in prevention of breast cancer,” she said.
Later in the evening, the hospital in statement said the minister also advocated research to assess if there is a link between breast cancer and diet, including cattle milk.
Dr Bipin Batra, Executive Director of the National Board of Examinations, said a Breast Imaging Fellowship programme has been started under the NBE.
“In India, breast cancer is the leading (type of) cancer with 1.5 lakh new cases being diagnosed every year and approximately 75,000 deaths per year,” the hospital stated.
Breast cancer in urban areas makes up for 15-25 per cent of all the cancer cases in women, it said.
“The National Health Policy 2017, in its non-communicable diseases section envisages screening for breast cancer as one of its thrust areas,” said Madhavi Chandra, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiology at the SGRH.
“In multiple studies across the world, it has been proved that regular screening with mammography reduces death due to breast cancer by 20-30 per cent,” the SGRH said.