The fact that early detection leads to higher chance of getting cured is well established and is also well known. But there is a great reluctance to get screened for cancer both in Urban & Rural Settings. Secondly it is presumed that screening done once is adequate. Much like in other diseases, screening has to be done repeatedly and on a regular basis to pick up cancers early. And those with abnormal findings or with premalignant conditions have to be on a follow up at Cancer centres. Only if these steps are taken , the process is useful.
Unfortunately all these do not happen. Most people come for screening just once! Many of screened people do not come to collect their reports. This we have seen especially at Chennai where women have not bothered to collect their Pap smear reports. Thirdly our experience from the rural camps is that those with frank cancers are unwilling to take treatment even when offered free.
These factors have deterred us from holding screening camps especially in Chennai & Coimbatore Sector. In Mumbai the response is better comparatively. The Pap smear camps have drawn a large number of women and they have actually come & collected their reports. It has been possible as our health workers are constantly contacting them over phone and in person. Secondly a small gift is being given to the women if they showed up to collect their reports.
By & large most of the screening camps have screened people only once. Even this one time screening has helped in some ways. We are happy that the fears associated with tests like Pap Smear & Mammography has been allayed. Secondly at most camps very few or none had frank cancers among the screened individuals. This has emboldened the onlookers to enroll themselves for screening. Lastly Camps being goodwill gestures, a lot of organizations pitch in help to organize and / or sponsor these camps.