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Survivors Tell Cancer-Hit How To Fight The Disease

Twenty-seven bravehearts, who survived the disease that is largely seen as incurable and is among the most dreaded ones in modern times, encouraged patients to keep up the fight against the Big C by sharing their experiences. These survivors were felicitated on Wednesday for their victory over cancer despite facing hardships.As part of the ongoing National Cancer Survivors' Week, RST Regional Cancer Hospital had organized a long-term survivors' meet. MLA Sunil Kedar, Maharashtra Medical Council chairman Dr Kishor Taori, president and secretary of city's Indian Medical Association Dr Sanjay Deshpane and Dr Kush Jhunjhunwala, medical superintendent Dr Anjali Kolhe and surgeon Dr SB Sapre also spoke to the patients and survivors. The meet was organized in collaboration with Snehaanchal, Sanjeevani and other social organizations.

"Patients have to be told through examples that it is possible for a cancer patient to have a completely disease free survival and a quality of life," said CEO and director of the hospital Dr Santosh Kakade. He said it is a relevant message considering that 80% of the cancer patients seek medical opinion when the disease is in advanced stage.

Joint director Dr BK Sharma said though oncologists are available in bigger cities, they have not been able to reach out to the rural population in time. "However with increased awareness, the survival rate of patients has improved. Cases of early detection of the disease have also increased," he said.

Vilas Motghare

A CRPF constable, Motghare was detected with bone and prostate cancer at the age of 27 only six months after being married when his wife was pregnant with their first child in 1999. At a private hospital, doctors declared that he would not live for more than three months.

Survivors Tell Cancer-Hit How To Fight The Disease

"I was in so much pain that I could not even walk. I had just started living my life. Irrespective of what the doctors said, I was confident that I would not die. I decided to live, however much pain I have to bear for it," he said. In two years, he got cured of the disease after undergoing 12 cycles of chemotherapy.Today, he is living happily with his wife, a 14-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. He believes that a person's will power can make miracles happen, which is especially true in terms of cancer survival.

Pradeep Ujawane

Ujawane has been living a healthy life for the past 26 years. Looking at the 61 year-old Bhandara resident, no one can ever make out that as a 35-year old, he had been detected with cancer of vocal chords.

Recollecting, he said, "I was going to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, as there were no known institutes in Central India, and was referred to RCH where some of the machines were then being newly installed. I was among the earliest patients of the hospital." Ujawane believes that more than the disease itself it is the fear at the very mention of cancer that does most patients in.

He thinks himself lucky to be referred to a hospital not far from his town. "However, even today, not many people in India get this. We need a better distribution of cancer hospitals, so that at least such services are available at district hospitals," he said.

Gajanan Kolhe

This 49-year-old factory manager from Yavatmal turned his tragedy into an opportunity. Having survived cancer of the large intestine for 10 years now, he provides help and support to other patients, willing them to fight like he did.

"I refuse to believe that cancer is incurable," he firmly declares to everyone. He says that it was being detected at the right time and being handled by the right team of doctors that helped him survive cancer.

He often arranges for awareness campaigns in his hometown, several times among labourers working in his factory. Friends and acquaintances refer any new patient of the disease to him. "All I tell the patients who come to me is 'I am right here, free of the disease, just because I was not scared of it. If I could recover, you too can.' This does the trick, giving them the will to fight," he said.

Benedict Daniels

At 33, hospital equipment maintenance technician Daniels was among the youngest survivor to be felicitated on the day. He was diagnosed with testicle cancer at the age of 22 in 2003. In his first operation, doctors could not locate the cancerous tissues. Later, the disease spread to other organs.

"I had practically given up on life at that time, not even wanting to go through the treatment. This resolve of letting life ebb away slowly got further strengthened after first painful bout of chemotherapy," he said. It was at this stage that he met Manjri Joshi who has been working for cancer patients for over a decade. "It was she and Dr Anand Pathak who revived the fighting spirit within me, telling me I had many reasons to live," recalled Daniels.

Today, he does look forward to a brighter future, having got married in 2011.

Times Of India
24 April 2014
Nagpur, India
By Payal Gwalani

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