In India, more than two lakh women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the year 2020. Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent and deadly forms of cancer. Government data shows that, on average, four out of ten women diagnosed with breast cancer in India in 2020 died due to the disease. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer among women in the country, followed by cervical cancer. According to the report of the National Cancer Registry Program by the National Center for Disease Informatics and Research, these cancers account for 39.4 per cent of the total cancer cases among women in India in 2020.
Most of these women are diagnosed with this disease when it has reached the fourth or fifth stage, the chance of successful treatment of breast and cervical cancer in the advanced stage is only 5%. Therefore, due to late diagnosis, most women are dying due of breast and cervical cancer. You must be wondering why breast and cervical cancer are detected so late. The answer is the lack of awareness of breast and cervical cancer. Due to this lack of awareness, most women think that she is healthy as she has no symptoms and how can she get breast or other cancer diseases. But the fact is breast and cervical cancer can be detected in the early or pre-cancerous stage. This is possible only when every woman should be aware of her health, and must have knowledge of important medical screening tests. Along with this, women must have access to medical facilities that promote screening and preventive healthcare.
Dr Sumita Prabhakar, a gynaecologist from Uttarakhand has taken the lead in making women aware of breast and cervical cancer. Dr. Sumita was born in Rishikesh and did her higher education in London after completing her medical education at Banaras Hindu University. She got opportunities to work in leading hospitals in Malaysia and Singapore. During this, she saw that people are aware of health abroad, and women give importance to the yearly medical checkup. By doing this women prevent many life-threatening diseases because they are detected in time and treatment is possible. After seeing all this Dr Sumita decided to return to India to continue her medical practice and promote preventive healthcare.
In India, Dr Sumita Prabhakar decided to stay in her home state of Uttarakhand and started doing many remarkable works for women’s health. At a young age, she started Colposcopy Training Center for Doctors in Dehradun, a training in which doctors could take training in cervical cancer screening. The benefit of learning this test went directly to the women patients and the colposcopy test, which earlier women had to go to big cities, is now available only in Dehradun and nearby cities. After this Dr. Sumita started Test Tube Baby Center for childless couples in Dehradun and broke the myth that only women are responsible for childlessness. He encouraged the men, they should also come for the examination and if either of the couple has a disease of sterility then the other should help him and cooperate in the treatment.
In her many years of medical practice, she has seen an increasing number of women who are suffering from breast cancer. Women who were diagnosed with breast cancer were coming to him when the disease had reached an advanced stage. Talking to women, she learned that most of the women had not even heard of breast cancer, and there were many women who could not believe that she was now suffering from breast cancer. The only reason for all this was the lack of breast cancer awareness. Just then Dr. Sumita Prabhakar decided that she would make a campaign by which she would make all women aware of breast and cervical cancer and provide free screening facility to women. It is from here that Dr. Sumita Prabhakar started the Can Protect Foundation in the year 2015. In the initial days, free women’s health camps were organized around Dehradun, in which women’s health experts, trained nurses started conducting breast examinations along with other tests.