Karnataka Govt Signs MoU With AstraZeneca India To Accelerate Lung Cancer Testing

Bengaluru: The National Health Mission and the Karnataka Health & Family Welfare Services signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd Thursday to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based lung cancer screening technology that will screen a patient for 29 lung diseases in one chest X-ray.

This AI-powered chest X-ray system will help the government detect lung nodules, often precursors to lung cancer, in 21 district hospitals in Karnataka. Hospitals where the technology will be deployed over the period of next 12 months are — district hospitals at Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Dharwad, Gadag, Chikkaballapur, Chikkamagaluru, Chitradurga, Kalburgi, Ramanagaram, Tumkuru, Karwar, Udupi, Yadgiri, Haveri, Madikeri, Kolar, Koppal, Chigateri Hospital and Davanagere, Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru and K C General Hospital in Bengaluru.

“Cancer can be treated with curative intent if detected early. We are bringing this technology in all our district hospitals across Karnataka and we strongly believe that this will emerge as the most beneficial way of detecting lung cancer early and bringing down the financial and emotional burden of healthcare on patients, especially who cannot afford even primary care,” said state Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao.

According to a study by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), cancer cases in Karnataka are expected to increase by 90,000 by 2025. In Bengaluru alone, the most common cancers in men are lung, stomach, oesophagus and prostate. In women, the most common cancers are breast, cervix, ovary and corpus uteri.

“We are grateful to the Government of Karnataka for this opportunity to partner and cater to the needs of patients at the community level. This will help incidental detection of nodules earlier, thereby improving early cancer diagnosis to a large extent as we integrate AI-based chest X-ray and low dose CT at the ground level,” said Dr Sanjeev Panchal, Managing Director and Country President, AstraZeneca India.

According to AstraZeneca India, the data collected through this advanced mechanism of disease detection will funnel into various critical healthcare programmes of the government and will contribute in tracking and managing national healthcare challenges such as pulmonary tuberculosis as well in India.

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