Shadi Ganz's Mammomobile has covered 92 villages of Tamil Nadu and conducts 500 mammograms per month.
Cognitive Psychotherapist, scientist and a breast cancer survivor Shadi Ganz developed India’s first fully equipped mobile breast and cervical cancer screening bus in Tamil Nadu.
A German national living in India, Ganz is also a philanthropist and a contemporary artist. Being a survivor of breast cancer, she hoped to find a cure through her Shadi Ganz Foundation Mammomobile Charitable Trust, reports The Better India.
She built Mammomobile for Rs 2 crore, all by herself. So far, the bus has toured 92 villages in the Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu and conducts 500 mammograms per month.
In an interview with The Indian Express, Ganz said, "I started this foundation because in India, by the time a woman is diagnosed, it might be too late to help her. This bus currently travels through the rural areas of Tamil Nadu, where we conduct awareness programmes and convince a woman to come get screened at the Mammomobile."
The bus is designed with different compartments containing machinery imported from the US to be able to diagnose patients and deliver instant results.
There’s a section for conducting mammography and a control room to get the test results. It also houses a section to examine women for cervical cancer. The results are immediately checked by a team of doctors at The Cancer Institute in Chennai.
For Ganz, the biggest challenge is the road conditions. “Since the roads are so bumpy, it would be difficult to maintain such sensitive machinery. So, I had to opt for analogue machinery, where the results are collected on a CD and sent by courier,” she said.
A review article titled “Epidemiology of breast cancer in Indian women” said, “Breast cancer has ranked number one cancer among the Indian females with adjusted age rate as high as 25.8 per 1,00,000 women and mortality 12.7 per 1,00,000 women.”
Even today, Indian women, especially in rural areas, aren’t well equipped with solutions to cure cancer.
Ganz’s trust provides financial support to women diagnosed with breast cancer – another self-funder initiative. She said, “I have tried applying for funding, but I either get rejected or I’m made promises that don’t get fulfilled. I am, however, glad that through the awareness programmes we conduct in cities, some women do come ahead and pitch in with resources that can help others get the treatment they need.”
Why Tamil Nadu? Her response is quick - “I see India as a strong country with wonderful people. Why not Tamil Nadu? We hope that next Mammomobile will be for Bangalore.”