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Oral Cancer Screening

Biocon foundation, The Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre, KLE Dental College and Axxonet have together developed a mobile oral cancer screening program. We are excited about the potential of this program that helps detect oral cancer in the early stages and find people who may have even a single risk factor and could be persuaded to make lifestyle changes to mitigate this risk.

Low cost mobile technology is a great way to extend the reach of this and other health screening programs. We are confident that this will benefit our communities and help in strengthening our disease management programs.

Biocon Foundation is ideally positioned to implement the oral cancer screening program through our established clinics and network of Community Health Workers (CHW’s) that each clinic has built up.

Implementation follows two very clear steps:


Training the CHW’s is critical to the success of the program. They are taken through the following steps before they start the screening:

  • The basics of oral cancer – causes, recognition of symptoms, and treatment
  • Objectives of the cancer screening program
  • People-friendly and non-threatening ways to approach people with risk factors. The CHW must explain what the screening program covers, and how this will help the individual
  • Using the mobile – the touch-screen mobile phone is very new for the CHW’s as is the module for screening. We ensure that the CHW is comfortable with the instrument and understands every aspect of the module.
  • Explaining the need for a picture of the lesion, if any. The CHW must be able to communicate this to the individual in a non- threatening manner
  • Explaining the action that needs to be taken in case the person has to be directed to the hospital  including health insurance access and benefits
  • Ensuring that the patient goes to a Tertiary Cancer center


  • Extricate information about families that have members who exhibit one or more risk factors for oral cancer (e.g. chewing tobacco). This list is extricated from the baseline survey that the CHW’s have already completed in many villages
  • Return to these families, introduce the cancer screening program, get consent and proceed with the screening
  • Once the screening is complete, the entire data collected, including the picture of the patient and the lesion, will be sent back to the Biocon Foundation servers
  • The specialists at the tertiary centers view this information and advice regarding management and follow-up
  • Biocon Foundation will keep track of the patient and ensure to the best of their abilities that the treatment is availed of, as prescribed

Click to enlarge

Results of the First Screeing:

The first screening was conducted in 2011 in Anakanur and 246 high risk individuals were covered. Of these, 67 individuals required biopsies for further investigation. These biopsies were conducted in the Arogya Raksha Yojana Clinic in Chikkballapur by a dentist - the patients who required further management were referred to the tertiary centres.

The second round of screening was conducted at Mangalagudda village, Bagalkot district, Karnataka

Population in High risk group: 583
Total number of people screened by CHW: 323
Number of cases with lesion according to CHW: 49
Number of cases with lesion missed by CHW: 18
Number of biopsies done: 3
Number of cases treated with Local application of Vitamin A: 23
Number of cases found to be malignant: 1
Patients are tracked and followed up every six months. The patient found to have advanced cancer was brought to MSCC for further management.

In order to incentivise the oral cancer screening for the patients, dental camps are organised in our areas of care in collaboration with KLE Dental College, people are given dental hygiene education, free medication and a dental care kit. Patients requiring interventions are referred to the Dental College Hospital.

We plan to conduct oral cancer screening programs at Kaladgi andChikkabellapur in the next few months.  


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