With anxiety and fear writ large on her face, 60-year-old Gnanambal travelled 30km to a breast cancer screening camp hosted jointly by RC Rasipuram, RID 2982, and the local Inner Wheel club. She wanted to know the status of a small, but perceivable lesion on her breast and on examination with the help of diagnostic equipment, it was found to be malignant.
Both the clubs helped her financially to undergo further tests for better understanding of the disease and to decide on the course of treatment. “We advised her to have chemotherapy to reduce the size of her lesion followed by surgery. She was also prescribed radiation therapy,” recalled N P Ramaswamy, past president, RC Rasipuram.
After consultations, the clubs approached the medical superintendent of the Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Hospital, Salem. The doctor after perusing her medical records, assured Gnanambal and the clubs that she could be treated at the hospital and all the expenses would be covered under the Prime Minister’s Insurance Scheme. Following a period of treatment at the hospital, she is now fully cured of cancer without spending a paisa from her pocket, thanks to Project Malar which is a flagship initiative of RID 2981 that screens women for breast cancer.
Last year, the project was launched by the then RI President Jennifer Jones in the presence of then RIDs A S Venkatesh and Mahesh Kotbagi and IPDG P Saravanan. Following this, around 20 breast screening camps were organised in partnership with Genworks, which produces the screening machines, with project chairman Babu Kandasamy leading the initiative. “He is taking efforts to hold similar camps in other states and is planning to have screening machines through CSR funds,” said Ramaswamy. Project Malar has given a new lease of life to Gnanambal.