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PINK Project initiative to help address gaps in breast cancer treatment launched in Punjab

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Saturday, April 02, 2022, 01:35 PM IST

The partnership - “Punjab Breast Cancer AI-Digital project”, also known as the ‘Pink Project’ will focus on efforts to ensure timely identification, treatment initiation, and robust referral pathways across the various health centers 
/Breast Cancer |
The partnership - “Punjab Breast Cancer AI-Digital project”, also known as the ‘Pink Project’ will focus on efforts to ensure timely identification, treatment initiation, and robust referral pathways across the various health centers /Breast Cancer |
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The Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Punjab, Roche Pharma India and Niramai Health Analytix inked a partnership to accelerate screening and treatment for Breast Cancer in the state of Punjab.

The partnership - “Punjab Breast Cancer AI-Digital project”, also known as the ‘Pink Project’ will focus on efforts to ensure timely identification, treatment initiation, and robust referral pathways across the various health centers through technology enabled, live patient tracking support, it said in a press statement.

“This public-private partnership is a significant step forward in the battle against cancer and a real boost to the potential of reducing the diseases burden and serving the last mile. Said Dr. Vijay Singla, Minister, Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education and Research, Government of Punjab.

A total of 15, 000 screenings of suspected females are targeted to be carried out in a span of one year and Punjab Health Department will ensure the mobilization of people for the screening, Singla said. Due to the high societal impact and multidisciplinary management of cancer, it will ensure linking all tertiary care centers, down-staging of disease leading to lower costs of treatment and ensure access to best and innovative to treatment for all, he added

The Punjab Breast Cancer AI-Digital project –PINK project will focus on:

State-wide screening for early detection of breast cancer cases with an innovative solution - a thermal based AI enabled platform for screening, linking to an integrated referral pathway for end-to-end closure with follow-ups for diagnosis and treatment initiation.

The epidemiological data generation to further support policy planning and mapping of the spread of Breast Cancer cases. The project aspires to proactively initiate early detection and maintain consistency with its digital referral capability by linking tertiary care centers. This would immensely help downstaging the disease as early detection would lead to lower costs of the treatment as compared to patients that were diagnosed in later stages.

Kumar Rahul, IAS Mission Director NHM and health Secretary Punjab, said, "We are excited for this partnership, which will strengthen efforts already underway across NHM through NPCDCS (National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke).Revolutionary partnerships like these are clearly a stimulus to increase attention towards timely detection and management of breast cancer in Punjab”.

The scope of collaboration includes:

A total of 15,000 screenings of suspected females to be carried out in one year. Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Punjab will ensure the mobilization of people for the screening.

Screening solutions and the digital referral pathway would be integrated and patients’ information would be shared from the Niramai software to the digital referral pathway, and provide end-to-end closure of screening, diagnostics and treatment modalities. The core technology of Niramai software has been developed using patented machine learning algorithms for reliable and accurate detection of breast cancer, which are non-invasive and respect the privacy of the patient.

Roche will act as a Technical Partner for project planning, implementation & monitoring of the state-wide Breast Cancer project plan, thereby strengthening the referral pathway through digitization. The digital system will help capture epidemiological statistics and provide GIS mapping of screened patients to generate MIS reports for the government officials.

This project will enable Punjab with two patient navigators/counselors who will be responsible for end-to-end support to the patient in the case of a positive Cancer detection. These patient counselors will educate patients on various care processes, and provide support to reduce anxiety and fear.

Capacity building sessions for doctors and other healthcare professionals on cancer epidemiology, its signs & symptoms, clinical features, diagnosis and treatment pathways.

V. Simpson Emmanuel, Managing Director & CEO, Roche Pharma India, said, “At Roche, we stand strong with our mission to deliver better, faster patient outcomes. Early diagnosis for breast cancer is extremely crucial to reduce mortality rates and provide appropriate treatment pathways. Partnership with the Department of Health, Government of Punjab and Niramai will foray a multidisciplinary approach within the oncology ecosystem to not only make breast cancer treatment highly effective but also ensure every breast cancer patient gets access to holistic care.”

Dr. Geetha Manjunath, Founder and CEO, Niramai Health Analytix said, “Breast cancer cases account for almost one-fourth of all cancer cases in women in India. The treatment for breast cancer can be highly effective, especially when the disease is diagnosed early, and this project is an important milestone for us. We will support the government of Punjab in carrying out the state-wide screening for early detection of breast cancer cases along with Roche, who will support us in project planning as well as establishing a referral pathway. With this collaboration, we also hope to achieve higher survival probabilities with Niramai’s innovative solution— a thermal based AI enabled platform for screening.”

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Published on: Saturday, April 02, 2022, 01:34 PM IST