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Free screening of women for cancer

The Health Ministry with the assistance of International Centre for Cancer Research in France will draw up a plan to screen the 12 million female population for cervical and breast cancer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) would fund the programme the Health Ministry said.

Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told The Island that the Maharagama National Cancer hospital was inundated with a large number of patients and some general and base hospitals in the country had also reported an increase in cancer patients.

He said of the country’s 20-million population women accounted for 12 million or 52 per cent and they were reluctant to seek timely medical advice for cancer thus making early detection of the disease difficult. Around 500,000 women were employed in the public sector and of them 300,000 were teachers, he said.

The cervical and breast cancer tests were compulsory in some countries and the Sri Lankan government had also decided to make them compulsory.

Minister de Silva added that Sri Lanka women had no facilities to undergo tests for cervical and breast cancer free of charge and the proposed scheme would benefit them.

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