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Mobile Early Detection and Prevention of Oral Cancer (mEDPOC)


Globally, India accounts for the highest number of Oral Cancer cases, with the government recording a staggering 80,000 cases every year across the country. Data from Million Death Study shows that cancer of oral cavity including lip and pharynx is one of the most fatal cancers in males which accounts for 35% of total cancer death.

71% of cancer death occurs between 30-70 years, the most productive years of life. It therefore is a major public health concern in India and has vital implications on economy of the country.

Oral Cancer is primarily caused by use of tobacco and its products which are common practices in rural India.

Oral Cancer is preventable. Predominantly, it is preceded by a pre-cancerous lesion. These pre-cancerous lesions are easily accessible for examination and the disease progression can be monitored.

Oral lesion developed due to use of tobacco

But often there is a delay in diagnosis due to lack of awareness, social barriers to seek help,  inadequate diagnostic services,  lack of trained specialists, poor infrastructure and connectivity. This results in low treatment outcomes and higher cost to patients due to advanced stage of presentation.


Prevention and Down staging of Oral Cancer.

About the program:

Biocon Foundation has developed and implemented a mobile phone based management platform for cancer screening and surveillance that enables the creation of electronic health records and facilitates targeted screening for Oral Cancer.

This m-Health program provides a platform to connect specialists with rural population for diagnosis and it also creates an opportunity for follow up and referrals.

The Oral cancer screening program caters to underserved sections of the society through an individualized approach. The intervention areas for this program include both urban and rural Karnataka. The screening is conducted either by house to house visit or in a work place setting. In work place setting, the health workers can reach out to a larger population within a specified time.
It is a faster and more reliable way to access people who are at risk of developing oral cancer.  Biocon Foundation in association with secondary and tertiary centres also hold camps in rural communities to reach out to a larger population.

The first Oral Cancer screening was conducted in 2011 in Anakanur and 316 high risk individuals were screened in the session.67 individuals required biopsies. The biopsies were conducted in the Arogya raksha Yojana Clinic in Chikballapur. The patients who required further treatment were referred to tertiary centres.

Oral cancer screening at the community, Chikballapur

The Oral cancer screening statistics till date is listed below:

House to
House Screening
16 yrs
High risk
Mangalagudda 1493 712 583 67 03
Anakanur 835 316 178 71 01
Huskur 3301 854 781 41 0
Hennagra 8545 1064 964 66 24
Kalkunte 5872 1103 864 83 0
Total 20046 4049 3370 328 28

Work Place Setting* Total population Population screened Pre-
malignant lesions
Work Place 1 326 97 07 07
Work Place 2 700 318 38 03
Work Place 3 260 260 44 0
Work Place 4 14710 2719 26 0
Work Place 5 1500 1336 206 72
Total 17496 4730 321 82
*Name of the companies are kept confidential

Camps Population screened Pre-malignant lesions Biopsies Done
Poshetahalli 611 36 01
Kalkunte 117 01 0
Total 728 37 1

Risk Mitigation Program:

Tobacco Cessation Counselling is an important step towards risk mitigation of Oral Cancer. Biocon Foundation conducts TCC sessions in primary, secondary and tertiary centres.


The Mobile Early Detection and Prevention of Oral Cancer screening program has largely impacted the high risk population as they are shown pictures of  their oral cavity  which helps in educating, creating awareness and also in de-addiction.  Screened individuals are encouraged to perform self-examinations and monitor the progress of the lesion.


Biocon Foundation has initiated several research practices in order to achieve a point of care diagnosis. Performing biopsies on asymptomatic oral precancerous lesions is a huge challenge due to attrition.  Hence, the Foundation is trying to identify non-invasive diagnostic methods. Currently research studies are being conducted to identify salivary biomarkers for pre-cancerous lesions, effects of tobacco products on oral lesions with risk stratification, molecular and cellular changes with the use of tobacco products. As a community research initiative, the Foundation is assessing the quality of life among tobacco users.



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