Bengaluru: The Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre at Narayana Health (NH) City celebrated the World Cancer Day last week and the place was resonating with positive vibes. Cancer survivors, patients, their families, nurses, doctors and the staff of NH came together to be part of the World Cancer Day that marked the launch of Cancer Support Group.
Yamini Mazumdar, the chief guest for the event held on 4 February, inaugurated the function by lighting the lamp along with heads of various departments of oncology at the cancer centre. The chief guest is the mother of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of Biocon, and a cancer survivor.
Dr Sharat Damodar, clinical director and head of the bone marrow transplant unit, termed the event as a ‘celebration’ as many cancer survivors, patients, family members, doctors and staff of NH had gathered together to commemorate the day and create awareness with the theme of ‘We can, I can’ for the cancer support group. The theme aims to convey the message that the people can combat cancer jointly, encouraging the patients to be positive and courageous, too, during the treatment process.
The invocation song was rendered by Mili Baruah, a cancer survivor who was treated at the cancer centre for breast cancer 2 years ago by a team of doctors led by Dr Anthony Pais, head of the breast oncology unit. Dr Paul Salins, senior vice president and medical director of the centre was present on the occasion.
Yamini Mazumdar unveiled the emblem of cancer support group marking the launch of this initiative and termed the day as Cancer Fighter Day and not a ‘Survivors Meet’. She said
“Do not shy away from cancer, tell your family and your doctor about it and always see the positive side of everything.”
Dr Paul said:
“Mrs Yamini Mazumdar is our hero. Despite undergoing eleven operations, this 84-year-old lady is the most positive person I have seen.”
He shared a few of his experiences with patients who dared to fight cancer and survive. The fight against cancer is not about doctors and their treatment, but the courage and the support by all the other teams in the hospital and at home that contributes to the cure of cancer. They all give in to improve the quality of life of the cancer patient.
This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr Santosh Gowda, head of the medical oncology department at the centre. The panel of experts comprised Dr Sharat Damodar, clinical director, haematologist and head of the bone marrow transplant unit, Dr Moni Kuriakose, head of surgical oncology and consultant head & neck onco-surgeon, Dr Anthony Pais, head of the breast oncology department, Dr Saurav Barghav, uro-oncologist, Dr Sandeep Jain, head of the radiation oncology department, Dr Suchitra Rao, gynaecologic oncologist, Dr Sunil Bhat, paediatric haematologist, and Dr Diwakar Gautam, clinical psychologist.
Excerpts from the panel discussion
Dr Sharat Damodar, clinical director, haematologist & head of bone marrow transplant unit:
There has been a significant improvement in the treatment of blood cancer.
Dr Sunil Bhat, paediatric haematologist & oncologist:
There is no age for cancer. Anybody can be susceptible depending on lifestyle and genetic factors though the risk increases with age.
Dr Moni Kuriakose, head of surgical oncology and head & neck cancer surgeon:
Head and neck cancer is a cancer caused due to bad habits. Tobacco and gutka chewing is very harmful.
Dr Anthony Pais, head of breast oncology:
Being a lady itself is a risk of breast cancer; the other major risk being obesity. The later you have your first period and earlier you have your menopause, it is better for women. Only 2% of all breast cancers occur in men.
Dr Suchitra Rao, gynaecologic oncologist:
Cervical cancer is caused due to early marriage and having multiple sex partners.
Dr Sharat Damodar, clinical director, hematologist & head of bone marrow transplant unit:
Cancer is curable when diagnosed early. Therefore, the right diagnosis is most important.
Dr Moni Kuriakos, head of surgical oncology and head & neck cancer surgeon:
There are multiple modalities of treatment to cure cancer and a lot of research and development is underway to fight even a stage 4 cancer.
Dr Santosh Gowda, head of medical oncology:
Vaccinate girls between the age of 19 to 26 to safeguard them from various types of women-related cancers such as ovarian cancer, cervical cancer etc.
Dr Diwakar Gautham, clinical psychologist:
Fifty-three to 55% of cancer patients suffer from mental illness as per Indian data. This is manifested due to fear, anxiety and depression. Suppressing these emotions causes somatic problems that result in mental illness. These are the psychological aspects in cancer patients. 75% of ‘care givers’ had depression as per a study done at NH. Cancer management also includes ‘care giver’ management.
Cancer survivors shared their experiences and were an inspiration to other cancer patients present on the occasion. Many volunteered to be part of the cancer support group.
Message from a cancer survivor:
Cancer is not an evil. It can be conquered.