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The Conquest of Cancer by Choice; not Chance
The Indian Cancer Society was founded in Mumbai in 1951 by the renowned oncologist Dr. DJ Jussawala, with the stated objective of providing cancer awareness and education, as well as offering high quality-low cost cancer screening facilities. Dr. Jussawala saw even in those early years that prevention through awareness and understanding was the only way to fight the scourge of cancer.
The Delhi Branch was set up in 1983 by a group of enlightened citizens, led by Mr. KK Mehta, who continued to guide the activities of ICS Delhi until 2011. These include:
· Cancer Jagriti. Our Awareness group of trained volunteers deliver cancer awareness talks at a wide variety of locations, ranging from schools and colleges, offices and factories, women’s’ groups, urban slums, villages, and with other socially committed organizations. We have trained workers of other NGO’s working in the Basti areas, so that our message of Cancer Awareness gets a sustained follow-up. Speakers carry instructive video films, as well as information literature, which is given free of cost. This service is available completely free of cost, though a pick-up for speakers is much appreciated. The Schools programme carries cancer education to a receptive audience. The use of FM channels carries our message further afield. We find that our programmes are reaching a wider audience, when AIR airs them on other channels. A Cancer Helpline 99 105 16562 is very popular. Focus has shifted from requests for financial help to request for information.
· Cancer Screening. ICS offers Cancer Screening at the Cancer Detection Centre, 42 Babar Road, New Delhi 110 001. The Centre is open on all working days from 0900 to 1200 hours. The Centre is served by 3 specialist doctors of ENT, Gynecology and Surgery, supported by a team of technicians. In a package, which includes a blood analysis, chest Xray, and physical examination by these experienced doctors, you can avail a screening for cancer at minimal, heavily subsidized cost. No prior appointment required, and the entire process takes only 35 minutes of your time. In order to detect cancer early, and even at a pre-cancer stage, ICS urges that every person over the age of 30 years should have an annual check-up. Thanks to the generosity of a local Trust, we now have a Mammography & Bone Densitometry facility operating out of Prashanti. Both services are offered at highly subsidized rates. Since November 2010 we offer HPV/DNA tests at the Cancer Detection Centre, Babar Road, with help from Gentech & the Max Foundation.
· Mobile Cancer Screening. Cancer Screening at your doorstep! This service is ideal for offices, factories, and other clusters of people who cannot take time off to come to the Babar Road Centre. 40 persons are screened in a 3-hour period by our specialist staff. This service is available on weekends, and on weekday afternoons. Bookings can be made through our office, and a payment is required to be made in advance to confirm the booking. Philanthropic individuals and organizations often sponsor camps for people living in the slums of Delhi. Please check with us about the availability of free camps. The Mobile Service is an essential part of the Community Projects, which ICS undertakes in the basti’s (slums) around Delhi.
· Projects. ICS undertakes Community Screening Projects supported by corporate houses as part of their CSR Projects. Over 2000 women from disadvantaged areas were screened for Cervical Cancer in 2009-10. In addition, Awareness Talks and intensive training for chosen leaders among local women as Basti Sevika’s are organized, with the doctors from IRCH/AIIMS. A series of talks and screening Camps were organized for the elderly with HelpAge. This was part of a Project, giving the elderly financial assistance with treatment costs. Assistance is also available to the elderly for treatment of chronic disease in an on-going programme. A special booklet on Cancer in the Elderly was produced.
· Cancer Sahyog: Since 1991, this Support group for people living with cancer has been working under the umbrella of ICS Delhi. Founded by a cancer survivor, all members of Cancer Sahyog have a personal experience with cancer. Besides offering a listening ear and a shared experience, volunteers provide literature, helpful suggestions and tips regarding the side effects of treatment. Most of all, volunteers in hospitals, all of whom are survivors, offer hope. Cancer Sahyog offers a measure of financial assistance to deserving cases. Sahyog’s annual seminar addresses issues of importance to cancer survivors. The Seminar in 2011 addressed Familial Cancer. Financial assistance of over Rs 20 lakhs is disbursed to needy patients. All of this money is collected through Donations from public spirited persons.
· The annual Walk for Cancer Awareness is a popular fixture on the Delhi calendar, as is Cancer Survivors Day. Many Hospitals are bringing their patients. Inspirational leaders flag off the Walk. We have invited Sports Icons to inspire the children. Both the Walk & Survivors Day seek to draw the general public into aspects of living with cancer. Survivors Day is a celebration of Life after Cancer. It will be celebrated as always on the second Saturday in February at Delhi’s fun hot-spot Dilli Haat.
· Breast Cancer Care. This group of Breast Cancer Survivors has joined the ICS family. They provide badly needed advice on prosthesis and bra’s; as well as living life under altered circumstances. They also join Volunteers from Jagriti & Sahyog in spreading awareness about Breast Cancer. This group has helped set up a Comprehensive Breast Cancer Care Centre at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, with support from Doctors & Nurses, recognizing the needs of women beyond mere medical intervention.
· Prashanti is the addition to the family, encouraging a serene return to normal living after cancer. Working under the aegis of ICS, this is a Centre for Healing therapies. Patients and Survivors are encouraged to explore the various therapies on offer, and use the one of their choice to better their quality of life. Prashanti has recently added a Diagnostic facility offering Mammography & Bone Densitometry. Both services are offered at no profit – no loss basis. There are plans to restructure this Unit on the lines of the Breast Cancer Haven (UK)
· ICS Newsletter “Nargis” offers information and has a small but loyal readership of 3000 persons. Nargis covers the activity of all ICS units, and gives useful information about cancer. It is distributed free of cost in Hospital clinics.
· Website. Our revamped website is popular with Internet users. We get calls from all across the country. We attempt to reach out to people with information and latest news.
· Pressure Group. ICS Delhi has worked as a watch dog for cancer information being delivered in sensitive manner. ICS works with tobacco regulation lobbies working to stem the easy availability of tobacco, especially to vulnerable youth. ICS has made presentations to the Parliamentary Sub Committee on Tobacco Regulation, putting forward its views on the tobacco-cancer connection. ICS successfully lobbied the Defence Forces to include cancer screening as part of the Annual Medical examination of all service personnel. We continue to keep an eye on cost of new generation cancer drugs, whose prices are beyond the reach of ordinary people. ICS has worked to get warning signs put onto bidi & gutka packets. Special programmes during the year highlight different cancers – Prostate Cancer (April), Tobacco/Oral cancers (May), Breast (October), Cervix (November)
· ICS works with International bodies such as UICC, WHO, American Cancer Society, WACC and Livestrong, in learning experience and interaction for Volunteers & Management alike. We also work closely with the Government of India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare & the Delhi Administration.
· Internship/NSS. ICS has welcomed young people/Interns to study our working, and to work with different Units. We hope this will sensitize them to the trauma of cancer. We are encouraged by calls from Management students from as far afield as Bangalore. Young college students are encouraged to undertake Social Audit of lifestyle leading to cancer. It helps them to understand their role in helping cancer to enter their lives.
· Cancer Insurance. Recognizing the fact that cancer treatment is long and expensive, ICS was the first to offer Cancer Insurance in collaboration with New India Assurance Company. Presently, there are two slabs of cover available. Details can be obtained from our office. At a time when one in eight Indians is likely to get cancer, insurance to offset the high cost of treatment has become a necessity.
ICS lives by its Vision statement: The Conquest of Cancer by Choice; not Chance. There is compelling evidence available to suggest that a majority of cancers are related to life style choices. In India where over half the cancers are in the head and neck region, it is important for people to recognise the connection between tobacco (including chewed tobacco such as gutka, khaini, paan masala) and cancer. Most cancers of the mouth, throat and lung are avoidable. The importance of diet in cancers is increasingly evident with new research. The connection of faulty diet is more clearly known. Diet is implicated in cancers such as those of the breast, stomach, gall bladder, colon and rectum, which are rising as life styles include richer diets, and people become more sedentary in their habits. Breast cancer, often referred to as the “empowered woman’s cancer”, is overtaking cervical cancer as the number one cancer in women in urban areas. Most cancers are curable if detected early. Many cancers are avoidable with an awareness of the way life styles help create these monsters.
The Delhi Branch of the ICS is proud to be part of the worldwide effort to combat cancer by striking it before it takes root.
We hope that all of you will carry the message of cancer prevention through awareness and regular annual screening, to your circle of friends and loved ones.
We need your commitment, in time and money, for this valuable cause.
PLEASE HELP US MAKE HEALTH A HABIT
Contact details: Indian Cancer Society, Delhi,
86/1 GF, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi 110 049
Tel: +91 11 26499572(O), 098 118 27549 (M)