F.Bilehdhoo Screening

Cancer has been on the rise in F. Bilehdhoo for the past few years. Particulalrly over the last few months childhood cancer has been increasing having 3 children under the age of 5 diagnosed over 2 months. This had spread a fear and worry among the people. Hence, F. Bilehdhoo council reached out to Cancer Society of Maldives to organize a screening and awareness trip to the island.

The screening trip to F. Bilehdhoo was conducted with initiative from F. Bilehdhoo learning center who has organized similar programs in the island before as well. The Cancer screening and awareness program was conducted from 11th May 2017 to 13th May 2017 with a 9 member team consisting of 3 doctors for breast clinical examination, 1 radiologist for breast ultrasound, 1 dentist for Oral Cancer Screening, 1 doctor to do awareness sessions and 3 Excom members.

We arrived at the island after a 2 hour launch ride over rough seas at around 3:30 on 11th May. Since our trip was a short one we had decided to start work right away. We had arranged for an awareness session for parents and students at 4:30. All of our doctors and excom members took part in the session talking on different topics. It included general cancer awareness with information on all the common cancers. It focused in more detail on breast and oral cancer. The session that lasted about 2 hours also included general health tips, nutrition and talks from 2 cancer survivors. After the first part of the session which was with powerpoint presentation, we had distributed the crowd into smaller groups and talked on different topics. The parents were taught proper breast self examination techniques and students were taught in futher detail about oral cancer and healthy eating including harms of supari, arecanut and energy drinks.

The screening sessions started the same night and continued over the next 2 days. A total of 116 people were screened for Breast Cancer and 175 people were screened for Oral Cancer. During this time one-on-one cancer councelling sessions were also done for people who had requested.

Another awareness session was carried out specially for mothers to talk about signs, symptoms and risk factors that could lead to different types of childhood cancers. This session also included a video presentation of breast self examintaion. Through these sessions about 200 people were given information on different topics.

Our screening and awareness was very well recieved by the poeple of F. Bilehdhoo with high percentage of the population attending the sessions and screening. We noticed that the poeple were very much in need of a service like this in a place where there is lack of doctors and information they need.

Cancer Society of Maldives and our team of doctors appreciate all the splendid arrangements made for us by the people of Bilehdhoo and the love and respect shown towards us. Among all of the screening and awareness trips we had done, this trip stands out as the best so far. We thank Bilehdhoo learning center, management and staff of bilehdhoo council, management and staff of Bilehdhoo health center and groups within the island who had come together to cook for us and the rest of the people of Bilehdhoo as well.

We would specially like to thank Mr. Shiyam, Head of Bilehdhoo Learning Center for taking the initiative to meet with us and arrange such a program for the poeple. It is with the support of such people that we can most effectively work towards minimising the impact of cancer within our country. Thank you!