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Community Oncology

Taking cancer control programmes to the door step of rural Kerala

Cancer pattern in India points to the fact that oral and lung cancers are the common cancers among males, while breast and cervix cancers are the leading female cancers. The common cancers are either preventable or treatable if detected at an early stage. However, it is noted that most of the cancer cases are reported in advanced stages due to various reasons, mainly lack of knowledge on risk factors and delay in early detection. The overall objective of Community Oncology Division is to empower the community on cancer prevention and early detection.

The Division of Community Oncology has started functioning in the Centre since 1985. Over a span of two decades, the Division has taken up innovative initiatives for cancer prevention and control in the State. The programmes are being conducted with the support of Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations, and also through service-minded volunteers. The Division is located on the ground floor of the main block on the way to the payward (Level 2, Block A).

Our Mission

Reduction of cancer incidence and mortality through primary prevention of tobacco related and life style related cancers and early detection of common cancers

Activities of the Division

Outreach programmes

  • Community empowerment for prevention, early detection and warning signals of cancer through awareness programmes
  • Target oriented programmes viz. school based health promotion campaigns and campaigns in the remote areas for vulnerable groups
  • Mass media and exhibition campaigns for cancer prevention
  • Professional training programmes
  • Trainer-tranee programmes for paramedicals and health workers
  • Tobacco Cessation Counselling
  • Early cancer detection programmes among high risk groups
  • Scientific research

Significance of cancer awareness programmes and early cancer detection

Educating the public on cancer prevention and control leads to better awareness and thereby facilitating them for cancer prevention strategies through lifestyle modulation. Awareness programmes also help to understand the signs and symptoms of common cancers thereby prompting early referral to cancer centres, early detection and appropriate treatment. Through trainer-trainee programmes, a large number of trainers can be empowered, who in turn can train a large population. It is generally observed that in places where there are regular intensive campaign against habits like tobacco smoking, chewing and alcoholism a substantial reduction in cancer incidence and mortality is achieved. Empowering health professionals, nurses, and health workers helps in early detection and timely referral to cancer treatment centres at the earliest.

The common cancers occurring in the society are detectable early. They include oral, breast and uterine cervical cancers. The purpose of early cancer detection is to identify the presence of a specific cancer in an individual that does not demonstrate any symptoms. Cancer detection camps will be useful for high risk groups (example: tobacco and alcohol habitués) and for those who have suspicious clinical signs or symptoms diagnosed through preliminary screening by a medical professional in the respective localities. The camp organizer has to arrange the programme and has to meet the expenses incurred for the camp.

In-house Activities

Outpatient clinics

The Community Oncology Division conducts out-patient clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays in a week for detection of oral, breast and uterine cervical cancers. (Remaining days except Sundays are devoted to community based health education and cancer detection activities). No referral letter is required for examination in this clinic. Detected cancer cases are referred to the respective departments of the Centre for treatment. Patients with pre-cancer (stage before the formation of cancer) will be followed up in the Division in a time bound manner.

a. Oral Cancer Detection Clinic: Tobacco and alcohol habitués and those who complaints of soreness, difficulty in tolerating spicy food, ulcers, growth, white/red patches in the oral cavity can undergo oral examination in this clinic. If necessary, further investigations like biopsy procedures will be undertaken.

b. Breast Cancer Detection Clinic: Patients to this clinic are referred from hospitals, cancer detection camps or individuals can come directly for clinical examination.. In this clinic, apart from physical examination by a doctor, patients are also educated to conduct regular breast self-examination. Regular follow up of high risk individuals is being done here and those who require further investigations will be referred as and when required.

c. Cervical Cancer Detection Clinic: Women above the age of 30 years can attend this clinic for examination of uterine cervix. Routine tests done in this clinic are pap smear, colposcopy and biopsy.

d. International School of Colposcopy: is the joint venture of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and RCC. Short courses on colposcopy are conducted in this centre. Doctors (National and International) and Post graduate students in Gynecology are given training in Colposcopy and low cost cervical cancer screening procedures.

e. Tobacco Cessation Clinic:

Subjects who are addicted to tobacco can utilise the facilities of this clinic where guidance, counseling and Nicotine Replacement Therapy facilities are available to help tobacco users quit their habit.TCC also conducts Quit Tobacco Educator Programmes for volunteers interested in conducting tobacco cessation activities. For enquiries on tobacco cessation activities contact

Who should attend the out-patient clinic?

  • People who are using tobacco in any form viz: smoking, tobacco chewing, panmasala and alcohol
  • People having burning sensation in the mouth
  • Patients with red or white patches, ulcers or those with growth in the mouthRoutine oral examination without any signs or symptoms
  • Women having lump in the breast/axilla, nipple discharge, pain in the breast
  • Married women above 30 years of age for uterine cervical examination
  • General examination for persons with lump/swelling in the body, change in the size of the wart/mole