Gastric Cancer Screening Programme underway in Samtse

The health ministry targets to screen over 44,000 individuals for gastric cancer in Samtse. The Gastric Cancer Screening Programme in the district which began last week screened nearly 9,000 individuals as of today.

A good number of people turned up for the Gastric Cancer Screening Program at the Tendruk Primary Health Centre yesterday.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, who is currently on an official visit to Samtse also visited the ongoing screening programme at Tendruk and advocated the importance of the programme to the public gathered.

In the first phase of gastric cancer screening, all individuals will be tested for Helicobacter Pylori or H. Pylori. It is the major cause of gastric cancer. Gastric cancer is caused due to high salt intake and smoking, and it is also hereditary in some cases.

“After the H. Pylori screening, the second phase will be the endoscopy service. It will be rolled out in the gewog. This is part of the flagship programme where the services available in Thimphu are made available in the community so that they don’t have to travel to Thimphu,” Lyonpo said.

In the later phase of the camp, the programme also includes the screening of cervical and breast cancers which are preventable and curable if detected early.

“Through screening programmes like this, we are able to detect cancers early. We can advocate for them on prevention. Once the detection happens, we are able to provide them with timely treatment so that cancer can be cured and managed,” Lyonpo added.

According to the health ministry, gastric cancer is one of the most common form of cancers in the country causing the highest death. As per the annual health bulletin, Bhutan recorded more than 100 deaths due to gastric and stomach cancers in the last five years.

The nationwide gastric cancer screening flagship programme aims to screen all populations aged 18 to 75 years and ensure that no person loses their life to gastric cancer.

PassangDorji, Samtse

Edited by Tshering Zam

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