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DateLine Friday, 1 August 2008

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Ministry to screen all women for cancer free of charge

Over 7,000 female cancer patients reported every year:

A total of 7374 female cancer patients are reported in Sri Lanka every year and 1,925 suffer from cervical cancer while 1,846 suffer from breast cancer. Twenty five per cent of female cancer patients have breast cancer and 12.6 of them are cervical cancer patients, Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry sources said.

The Ministry has decided to screen all Sri Lankan women for cancer free of charge and as the first step, all school teachers will be screened free of charge within six months.

This was revealed during a special discussion at the National blood Centre yesterday with the participation of Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, Ministry Secretary Dr.Athula Kahandaliyanage, Director National Cancer Prevention Programme, Dr. Yasantha Ariyaratne, WHO Representative to Sri Lanka,Dr.Agostino Borra, UNFPA Representative to Sri Lanka, Baqi Lubna and several others.

Minister de Silva said he is ready to take any policy decision to get an effective National Strategy on Cancer Prevention.

The cancer prevention programme implemented in Thailand is very successful and cost effective. Similar programmes are on in India and several Asian countries. In UK it is compulsory for all females who are over 30 to undergo cancer screening.

At the moment about 65,000 Sri Lankan women undergo cancer screening every year but this number should be 200,000 per year. A special committee has been appointed to look into this matter under the Chairmanship of Dr.Dula De Silva.

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