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At this small base with limited laboratory facilities in the Military Hospital as well as the Government Hospital, a Cancer Screening Camp was organized in which ladies above 35 years were offered a blood pressure check, breast examination and a Pap's smear examination. The medical officer went around various units in the base to address the personnel about the aim and objectives behind holding this camp, besides addressing the ladies in the AFWWA meet. The response was tremendous and a total of 175 ladies reported. The Pap's smear were taken by the gynaecologist from Military Hospital as well as our lady medical officer, and the slides were very kindly examined by the Gujarat Cancer Research Institute, Ahmedabad free of cost.
The significant finding was that only 46 out of 146 smears collected were reported as normal or within normal limits, 99 slides showed varying degrees of inflammation with one reported as Trichomonas. Fortunately there was none with malignant changes.
It was indeed surprising to note such a large percentage of ladies who had cervicitis, a diagnosis which would have gone undetected for a long time. It i not unusual to have ladies presenting with local symptoms of long standing duration, treated inadequately, obviously being a cause of prolonged morbidity.
It is suggested that ladies reporting with complaints referable to vaginitis/cervicitis should undergo a full gynaecological check up and not just empirical treatment by primary care physicians who would be reluctant / unable to do a per speculum examination or simply do not have the infrastructure to do so.
The other big advantage which accured from the camp was the amount of health awareness among the personnel and their families. It is also felt that such camps are a good means of generating mass health awareness and should be encouraged.