The Rotary Club of Colombo launched the Cancer Prevention and Early Detection project in 2004, in partnership with the National Cancer Control Programme of the Ministry of Health.
The project enters its 14th year in 2018. The Screening and Early Detection Centre in Colombo is supported by corporate partner, Dialog Axiata plc. Today, this is the only national facility, dedicated to screening, early detection and prevention of cancer.
The present Narahenpita Centre is a landmark in the area and through the generosity from donors both local and overseas from Birmingham Alabama, as well as funding through a Global Grant from Rotary International with partner clubs from Birmingham Alabama, Nuremberg and Zurich, the Centre now offers screening and early detection for breast cancer, cervical and oral cancer as well as counselling, education and awareness programmes for prevention. These are carried out by a team of doctors and nurses from NCCP, with the focus on breast cancer through mammography screening, this having the highest incidence of all cancers.
Screening for cervical cancer is carried out through HPV/DNA and Colposcopy screening and oral cancer and screening of other cancers through a fully equipped unit. A Health Education Unit handles the prevention activities such as social awareness programmes and education. A mobile screening and awareness building operation is also carried out throughout the country to reach areas out of Colombo. To-date the centre has screened over 60,000 individuals with over 16,000 showing symptoms requiring further investigation.
The project has also reached out to the regions to make screening and early detection available to those communities, with the setting up of a breast cancer screening unit at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital in 2016.
The centre has plans to move this year to it’s own building, facilitating more space to meet the growing demand for screening, as well as enabling the screening facilities to be expanded and upgraded. An MOU was recently signed between Ministry of Health , Dialog Axiata and Rotary Club of Colombo to construct a National Centre for Screening, Early Detection and Prevention of cancer in the presence of Minister for Health.
This is a milestone in the Rotary Club of Colombo, Cancer Early Detection project. The building would also house a National Centre for Hearing and Speech for prevention of hearing defects. The building is estimated to cost Rs. 120 million which will be funded entirely by the donor Dialog Axiata PLC who came forward to partner Rotary Club of Colombo on this project by funding construction of the new building. With the proposed new Centre, which can accommodate increased numbers and will provide space for upgrading and expanding the present services, the total project value will now stand at Rs. 185million. This will be the gift from Rotary Club of Colombo and Dialog to support the Ministry of Health in their fight against cancer.