On April 14th, Silicon Valley Global Health released our first podcast in partnership with the Aaroogya Foundation on the topic “Advancing Women’s Agency : COVID-19 & Its Implications on Breast Cancer in India.” The speakers of the podcast were Dr. PK Julka from India, former Padma Shri awardee, and the Principal Director at Max Oncology Daycare Centre in New Delhi, India, and Dr. Priyanjali Datta, a former ‘Top 50 Global Healthcare Leaders’ recipient and co-founder of Aaroogya Foundation. The discussion was hosted by Martine Bolsens Peetermans, CEO, Silicon Valley Global Health. The debate revolved around the implications of the recent coronavirus outbreak on treatments and diagnosis of breast cancer in India.
It is a common belief that past genetics play an important role in causing breast cancer, although, Dr. Julka identifies that genetics are actually only responsible for less than 10% of breast cancer cases. The other over 90% of cases are--in Dr. Julka’s words--de novo, meaning that the cancer arises from modifiable or non-modifiable environmental factors outside of genetics. While being elderly or being a woman causes one to be unavoidably more prone to contracting breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers, causes of cancer connected to lifestyle, like obesity, smoking, and alcohol overconsumption, are factors that can be modified by individuals.
Aaroogya Foundation launched their on-the-ground cancer detection effort in 2017 by working with oncologists and endocrinologists to develop and implement a mobile device equipped in local languages to conduct cancer screenings on a wide scale in targeted rural areas, especially. With the help of Indian ASHA workers, who went door to door to screen for COVID-19 and the cancers of interest, Aaroogya has since then been able to build out an effective process of assessment for potential patients, triaging them into low, medium, and high risk, and sending those who are moderate to high risk to local hospitals to be treated. While Aaroogya is evolving this model in India, Aaroogya will also begin screening in Uganda as well in the near future.
As Dr. Datta says, the Aaroogya podcast is for women everywhere who are at risk of contracting these cancers, have developed signs of these cancers, or are looking for effective and affordable treatments. To maximize information is one of the keys to assuring effective treatments of cervical, ovarian, and breast cancers in India, Uganda, and around the world.
Learn more by viewing this episode at the link below: