Together we will triumph and look forward to a future without cancer
OBSERVING World Cancer Day reminds us that the Emperor of Maladies, as the disease is dubbed, continues to plague us almost 250 years since it was first discovered. This is despite being the top funded disease in terms of research. It is the second leading cause of death globally.
But all is not lost. To create a future without cancer, the theme this World Cancer Day is “I am and I will” – either you are involved in doing something about it or you pledge to that you will. This is a highly empowering message for individual, monetary and personal interventions to help stop the incidence and fatality of the disease.
Science tells us that early detection and timely medical intervention is the key to recovery. However, both these remain elusive to low income families in India. Besides the lack of access to quality cancer care is as much a barrier as the cost of treatment, estimated anywhere between ₹5 lakh and ₹10 lakh on average in a private hospital. More specialised, newer methods of treatment can drive up the expenditure to ₹1 crore!
A recently published report projected cancer deaths in India to be over 8.8 lakh in 2020 – far more than the 1.5 lakh fatalities from Covid-19 in the same period. That one in nine Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime is a grim statistic – but we all can do something about it.
These numbers, which disproportionately affect the poor and marginalised, have prompted several NGOs to come forward and help the poor gain access to quality healthcare and medical treatments. Here is a list of top five NGOs in India who have taken the wheel in making cancer care and treatment affordable to all.
This World Cancer Day, make a pledge to help those who can’t help themselves beat cancer.
Every year thousands of children around the country are affected by cancer and as the poor among them scramble to treatment, they are met with difficulties in finding safe and sanitized places to stay. St. Jude India Childcare Centres steps in with the noble initiative of providing accommodation to the affected children and their families through their network of centres in the country. The little patients can live here with their parents throughout their treatments and also have the ability to return here for their post-operative checkups.
When it comes to cancer detection in children, early detection along with the right nutrition and a conducive healing environment assume the highest importance. This is exactly where NGOs such as the Cuddles Foundation come into play. The NGO works towards providing children affected by cancer quality nutrition.
They work with hospitals and after signing an MoU with them, equip nutritionists and healthcare workers with the necessary equipment to track the affected child’s nutrition through their app, which is called Cuddles FoodHeals™. They also undertake counselling sessions with the primary caregivers of the children to advise them on the necessary care to be taken.
Cankids Kidscan – The National Society For Change For Childhood Cancer works across the spectrum of childhood cancer care in India. The scope of their work ranges from early detection to post-operative care. The organisation is active across 22 states and 47 cities in India.
The NGO bases their caregiving model on an adage called YANA – You are Not Alone. It works on a dual-pronged approach, namely Cankids Hospital Support Units – which partners with hospitals to provide quality cancer care to beneficiaries who reach the hospital, and Change For Childhood Cancer State Projects, which ensure that the affected patients reach the care centres at the earliest and receive timely treatment.
Founded by Ruby Ahluwalia, a cancer survivor herself, Sanjeevani Life Beyond Cancer is an award-winning not-for-profit organisation, working towards providing holistic cancer care to patients through a comprehensive approach.
On this World Cancer Day, it is useful to know that the NGO focuses its efforts not only on providing cancer care for its patients but also has at the helm – a person who has battled Stage 3 cancer and understands the physical as well as mental implications of the ailment. Their approach ranges from wellness initiatives, counselling sessions, nutritional supplements, and more. It has 17 centres spread across 12 cities in the country.
Charutar Arogya Mandal was born through the dream vision of a former Union Finance and Home Minister – H.M. Patel. The organisation is committed to offering quality and affordable healthcare to patients suffering from the deadly disease. The NGO, comprising experts in the field of healthcare and cancer detection has for years stayed true to its promise of not denying treatment to anyone who seeks it and provides care to patients at little or no cost.
So this World Cancer Day, let us step up as citizens to raise awareness about cancer in India. Pledge a small sum towards helping those who cannot afford the costs and ensure that the disease does not trump over humanity.
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A writer by profession, vocation, and most importantly by choice Amruta can be found in a sunlit corner with her books, cats and a cup of coffee.