Apollo Hospitals recently organized the 3rd edition of Cancer Conclave and the 7th edition of Cancer CI. A workshop on Surgical Oncology and Radiology was held at Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), succeeded by the Conclave and the Conference.
“Big C”, or Cancer as we call it, kills an estimated 1.1 million people in the WHO’s South-East Asia Region each year. It is projected that India is likely to have over 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease by 2020, with cancers of breast, lung and cervix topping the list.
To fight the battle against cancer, 4th February, is observed as “The World Cancer Day” each year. And Apollo, a strong supporter of the cause, has been standing strong in this battle ever since 1983.
We at Apollo Hospitals have a state-of-the-art Cancer Excellence Centre, and are persistently making efforts to prevent cancer by empowering people to make healthy life choices.
Apollo acknowledges prevention as need of the hour, and staunchly promotes on-ground cancer awareness, screening, and early detection programmes. To make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment more accessible, convenient, and affordable, Apollo focuses on scouting and evaluating technology from across the globe, with the aim of integrating innovations across group hospitals.
Developing a Road Map for Screening Rural India
Today, India witnesses several cervical cancer screening programmes where in pap-smear test, VIA, colposcopy, and biopsy are carried out at the ground level. Yet, we are facing the highest age-standardized incidence of cervical cancer.
The challenges that cervical cancer screening programmes in India face are primarily related to reaching remote areas and sustaining large-scale screening programmes. The high turnaround time for screening tests, dropout rate, invasiveness of the test procedures, coupled with cultural sensitiveness, are a few other reasons.
To beat such challenges, Apollo is exploring some of the most advanced technologies in the area of cervical cancer screening, which include urine-based DNA test, optical signature-based probe, and an EIS-based medical device that differentiates between cancerous and pre-cancerous cells.
Apollo Research & Innovation is conducting a pilot study funded by IFC to validate one such point of cervical cancer screening technology. Mobile ODT has developed an Enhanced Visual Assessment (EVA) tool for cervical cancer screening using a smartphone. A comprehensive POC tool augments the smartphone’s optics to enable enhanced imaging, while the app allows for image and patient data capture for remote consultation. The device uses a cloud-based online platform to manage clinical workflow, follow-up cases, track screening, treatment statistics and trends.
Unlike the conventional pap-smear test, mobile ODT is a real-time diagnostic device, which allows on-site determination of pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions, enabling healthcare providers to treat the patient the same day.
While the Government of India is working towards making cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination mandatory under their National Immunization Plan, Apollo Research and Innovations is working towards a PPP model to scale up the screening programmes and enable successful screening in India.
The successful validation of this device will result in a point of care screening programmes for hard-to-reach rural areas.