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CPAA: Cancer Radiation detection & Cancer Treatment in India CPAA: Cancer Radiation detection & Cancer Treatment in India
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Cancer can be completely cured if caught early enough and treated, and that’s what we seek to do through our OPDs at the Prabhadevi, and the Lila Kishanchand Shahani Clinical Diagnostic Centre, Naigaon.

OPD - NaigaonStatistics show that the most common cancers in India - the Head and Neck cancers, Cervical cancer and Breast cancer – are the very cancers that can be easily detected at an early stage. Oral cancers show up in the form of white patches (leucoplakia), black patches (melanoplakia), red patches (erythroplakia), submucous fibrosis and difficulty in fully opening the mouth. These can be easily detected during an oral examination. Cervical cancer can be detected through a Pap smear, a painless test, which involves scraping cells from the cervix during a pelvic examination. A microscopic examination of the smear can identify abnormal cells even in a pre-cancerous stage (dysplasia). A firm lump, small changes or discharge from the nipples are early signs of breast tumour. At the clinic, women are instructed on how to perform an effective Breast Self Examination.

Cancer screening is completely free at these clinics. Of the 75,000 healthy individuals screened by CPAA over the years, 200 cases of early cancer have been diagnosed with cancer.

CPAA has been conducting OPDs for the early detection of cancer, for a long time. Until 1987, we used to hold our OPDs at St. Elizabeth Nursing Home. As activities expanded, we felt the need for our own premises. Serendipitously, around the same time, we obtained permission to use two rooms in the Red Cross campus at Agripada. This campus had been donated to the Red Cross when Adams Wylie, a New Zealander left India after independence. The structures, which have since been declared Heritage Buildings, included a leprosy unit, a dental and medical clinic and residential quarters for employees. We set up screening facilities here, which later expanded to include the Rehabilitation Centre, a full fledged Social Welfare Department, and a new Pathology laboratory to analyse the blood and Pap smear test samples collected during camps.

Currently, CPAA conducts diagnostic OPDs at the Suman Ramesh Tulsiani Diagnostic & Rehabilitation Center Prabhadevi, on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 2 and 3.30 pm. Anyone can drop by and avail of a free Cancer Screening Examination, which covers examination by an ENT specialist, a surgeon, a physician, and a gynecologist. Blood sampling is done for everyone, and a Pap smear test for women. For reasons of safety, only disposable equipment is used. These test results are acceptable qualification for the Cancer Insurance Policy.

As time went by, the pressure on the then OPD facilities at Agripada increased, and we began looking out for space to expand. We heard about space available at the Naigaon Municipal Maternity Hospital, approached the Bombay Municipal Corporation, and after much persuasion, obtained space (and permission!) to start an early detection centre in 1994.

The centre boasts of state of the art facilities for all blood tests, Pap smear tests, X-ray, sonography, mammography, and colposcopy. Free Cancer Screening OPDs are held here every Tuesday from 2 to 3.30 pm. Other facilities are made available at subsidised rates. The Lila Kishanchand Shahani Clinical Diagnostic Center, made possible by a generous grant from the Shahani Trust, was inaugurated in 1998.

"I want to make the laboratory self sufficient," says Mrs. Valsa Peter, who was the first recruit at the Agripada laboratory, and is now the Head of the Naigaon laboratory. "We need to develop low cost, large volume tests to make the laboratory a commercial success so that we can eventually support all diagnostic functions."

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