1. Community Outreach Programme
a) Spreading awareness
Keeping in mind the bare importance of community awareness in regulating cancer burden, organizing regular cancer awareness programmes forms the crux of the outreach programme. Such programmes, primarily organised at various designated community centres are spear- headed by the Centre’s dedicated medical social workers who collaborate with grass- root level workers and community leaders in order to engage huge masses for such programmes.
Based on past experiences with the community regarding effective imparting of cancer awareness, particular importance is given to convey the messages in simple and effective pictorial formats. Special efforts are always made to also include men in awareness programmes that focus on breast and cervix cancers. This would ensure their effective participation in any future course of a cancer diagnosis.
b) Screening and Early Diagnosis
In addition to awareness programmes, the centre actively coordinates and initiates various screening activities across the region. Screening for breast, cervix and oral is organised in collaboration with various community and non-governmental entities. The effort of such early diagnosis programmes is to ensure maximum and continued participation of the community.
c) Linkage to Care
A remarkable finding from our interaction with the community was the unanimous request for a liaising person between the community and the tertiary care hospital. This they felt would enhance uptake and improve accessibility as people specially from rural settings are inhibited by the tertiary or secondary care hospital surroundings. This therefore led us to engage a patient advocate who not only sets up awareness camps but also liaises with the participants throughout the cancer care continuum.
d) Survivorship and Rehabilitation
A defining aspect of the cancer care pathway is rehabilitation of cancer survivors. A dedicated community palliative care team in collaboration with the tertiary care hospital suffices rehabilitation and survivorship needs of patients in need of palliative care.