'ABC of Breast Health' at your fingertips

Pioneer in breast cancer care launches app in 12 languages to spread awareness about the 'closet' disease

Dr Raghu Ram speaks during the app launch at Hotel JW Marriott in Juhu on Wednesday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Dr Raghu Ram speaks during the app launch at Hotel JW Marriott in Juhu on Wednesday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

An app — ABC of Breast Health — was launched yesterday in 12 languages in a bid to ensure its widespread reach as well as kill the stigma surrounding breast cancer.

Dr Raghu Ram, a pioneer in breast cancer care in India and abroad who launched the app, said, "In India, we do not have a curriculum on breast cancer counselling, which, as a result, has led to huge lacunae when it comes to breaking the bad news. We need to acknowledge this and change it."

Simplifying the Big C
The app has content in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese, English and Hindi. The intent, Ram explained, is simple, that since digitisation of India, especially the rural households, has already begun, introducing something like had become a necessity.

"There are several questions that women have but don't ask and keep ignoring because it's become a 'closet' disease. With everything simplified right in front of their eyes, they will be motivated to take action," the Padma Shri awardee told mid-day.

"Questions about how breast cancer is caused, diagnosed, matched and treated are elaborately explained. For example, more than breast cancer, benign lumps are common. In India, nine out of 10 lumps are non-cancerous. A lot of people don't know that men also get breast cancer; rarely, but they do. We have made an exhaustive list of the myths and facts as well."

Across the globe
The content of the app has been generated by experts from both India and abroad. From India, Ram, who is the director of Ushalaxmi Breast Cancer Foundation based in Hyderabad, has collaborated with UK's largest breast health charity based in London, and produced evidence-based information in simple language. Ram's foundation is named after his mother, he shared, adding that she continues to be the inspiration behind all his work.

He has also gotten a film made for this purpose by well-known filmmaker Mani Shankar, which he plans to screen across the country to increase awareness about breast cancer.

"Any medium that a local uses has to be utilised; hence, the film. We also have a weekly newsletter called Pink Connection. We are hoping that the nationwide campaign we are starting will help save thousands of lives," said Ram.

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