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'We Aim To Address Every Issue Related To Breast Health'
Dr Pillarisetti Raghu Ram has been working to fulfill his vision of making all the information regarding breast cancer available by launching 'ABC OF BREAST HEALTH', the world's first such application providing information and counselling
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On 15 March, 2017, Dr. P Raghu Ram launched the world's first application on breast cancer and all the necessary information about the disease. Dr. Raghu Ram has spent a decade in the UK and has collaborated with Breast Cancer Care UK to issue their booklets regarding the awareness of breast cancer. He then made these booklets available in India in English and Telugu language converted them into easy to understand format and distributed 100,000 of these booklets.
Following the success, Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation later conceived, created and designed ABC OF BREAST HEALTH, the world's first mobile application on breast cancer in 12 commonly spoken languages across the country.
Amitabh Bachchan and Pamela Yash Chopra were the chief guests at the launch and expressed their excitement and happiness to launch 'ABC OF BREAST HEALTH'.
In an interview with BW Businessworld Dr. P. Raghu Ram spoke about the idea behind creating the application and gave some insights to the application as well.
Can you please explain what is ABC of Breast Health?
In our country more than 60% of breast cancer is present in the advanced stage primarily because of lack of awareness about the importance of early detection. Counseling is also not part of our medical curriculum so there are huge lacuna in breaking bad news therefore in order to address these issues in 2007 Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation which is a "Not For Profit Charity" based out of Hyderabad collaborated with Breast Cancer Care UK that provides information related to all aspects of breast health in simple and easy to understand format.
What is the idea behind launching this application?
The aim of this initiative is to reach out to the entire country both rural and urban India about every conceivable aspect of breast health which not only includes information about breast cancer alone but even benign breast health issues which are far more common issues and are badly dealt with. So every aspect of breast health is addressed in simple and easy to understand language so that people would be empowered and they are better prepared to take informed decisions and that is the reason we have developed this application and to the best of my knowledge this is the world's first initiative by a not for profit organization the Ushalaksmi Breast Cancer Foundation to spread awareness of breast health issues.
How will the application benefit the medical sector of India?
The application ABC OF Breast Health aims to empower people across all walks of life urban and rural because it is available in 12 commonly spoken languages and anybody can download this app. It is a free app and there are no questions asked or names taken and therefore any medical sector wishes to download it then they can and spread this information and empower people in understanding what breast cancer is and how to deal with these circumstances. The benefit here is to reassure those who are worried well who think they may have cancer and also empower those who have breast cancer so that it can be detected thoroughly and lives can be saved.
What are the other improvements the healthcare sectors need to do especially in dealing with diseases like cancer?
The kind of improvements the medical sectors need to do is to spread more awareness of life threatening diseases. When it comes to breast cancer in India, women over the age of 40 must have an annual screening mammogram where in if cancer is detected it can be treated in the early stage where the lady or the doctor can feel it. I believe that the government of India must introduce counselling in its medical curriculum because particularly in cancer you can cure sometimes you can relieve sometimes but it is important as a doctor to comfort the patients. Hence doctors must be primed about counselling in the medical curriculum to sensitize and prepare patients before taking them for treatment. Particularly with any disease if you prepare the patient's mind then the body will accept treatment so if the treatment needs to work then 50% of it lies in proper counselling.
Will the launch of this application encourage you to create more innovative applications to improve healthcare in India?
This application is only to educate people, to empower people so hopefully this will act as a stimulant or it will act as a powerful incentive for people to develop applications in other forms of healthcare as well in as many regional languages possible so they can reach out to the length and breadth of the country. Since our application has just been launched we still have to see the benefits in rural areas as well. In fact I have submitted a proposal to the government of India and to the ministry of health to consider incorporating this app into the health portal. It is under active consideration and I hope to solve any and every problem related to the technicality of the app within the next 1 year and give it to the government of India so that the application can be used widely.
Does the application provide any other features?
The application has 2 videos available to all the users where one video is a two minute short film which describes breast cancer and about its awareness in a very artistic and dance form. The second video is a detailed 15 minute long video that talks about symptoms of breast cancer, the detection of the cancer and all the necessary counselling regarding breast cancer. In addition to this information the foundation publishes a quarterly newsletter which is called Pink Connection and the users who download the app will receive 5 common myths related to breast cancer daily to update their knowledge and empower them towards facing breast cancer and other benign cancer diseases.