Meet the doctor tackling breast cancer, one small town at a time
Woman with a cause
In 2016, dental surgeon Dr Priyanjali Datta’s mother was diagnosed with a rare pre-cancer blood condition called essential thrombocytosis. Having already lost her grandmother to the disease, Datta was reminded of a promise she made to herself as a child: to save the world from cancer. She decided to abandon dentistry to fulfil that promise, and a year later set up Aaroogya in New Delhi.
During a drive to spread awareness
At a self-examination workshop at National Association For The Blind, New Delhi
The foundation works towards awareness, early detection and secondary prevention of breast cancer for women in small-towns across Meghalaya, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, with plans to expand into Bihar, Punjab and Chattisgarh. Its volunteers go door to door, speaking to women and training them in self-examination. Backed by healthcare service providers Gramin Healthcare and Eximious Health, Aaroogya provides on-thespot diagnosis and can connect patients to experts via video calls.
Educating women about breast cancer
“The mortality rate is currently 80 per cent due to late diagnosis. We hope to bring it down to 30 percent within five years,” says Datta, even as she admits it is challenging to get women in conservative communities to speak openly about their bodies. As part of its mission, Aaroogya is also conducting on-ground surveys and compiling data for collaborators, including the government, to develop necessary healthcare infrastructure for rural India.