Cancer Awareness
Friday, January 20, 2012
A Gift for South India : TrueBeam STx for the first time in Asia Pacific
HYDERABAD: As a landmark development for cancer patients, the Global hospitals group announced on Wednesday the launch of BGS Global Cancer Institute at Bengaluru. Considered as one of the world’s most advanced radiation therapy machine, the TrueBeam Stx is an advanced radiation therapy machine engineered to perform the most sophisticated radiation therapy and radio-surgery procedures with pinpoint accuracy and ultra-fine precision. It works by choreographing highly sophisticated systems - imaging, beam delivery and motion management -making it possible to deliver treatments quickly while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion. It will enable faster, accurate tumor targeting in the treatment of challenging cancers throughout the body, including those in the brain, pancreas and liver. Already installed and operational, radiation oncologists at BGS Global Hospitals have begun routinely performing complex procedures with seemingly amazing precision and patient comfort.

In India while there are some centers which are equipped with normal TrueBeam, the BGS Global Hospitals is introducing TrueBeam STx for the first time in Asia Pacific.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr K Ravindranath, chairman and managing director, Global hospitals group said, “We have been continuously investing on the most advanced technologies. I am personally very delighted to bring to the people Asia Pacific’s first TrueBeam STx. Since, inception, we have been routinely performing medical and surgical procedures to treat a variety of cancers. The addition of TrueBeam STx will now help us in bringing the cancer patients requiring radiation therapy, the best radiation technology ever. We will soon be commissioning Gamma Camera and Brachy Therapy machines too, while PET CT is already commissioned.”

Mr David James, director of Surgical Sciences at Varian Medical Systems, Germany, makers of TrueBeam STX, said, “The high precision, accuracy and visibility of Trubeam STx provide the cancer professionals with the tools they need to eliminate even complex tumors. With this technology, they will have the ability to expand their practice by treating in new and innovative ways. They now can spare more surrounding critical structures and deliver more ablative treatments with leading-edge delivery of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). ”

Courtesy - Express News Service , The New Indian Express

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posted by Unknown @ 4:57 AM   12 comments
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Cancer Natural Ayurvedic Cure
According to ayurvedic thought, having the three doshas out of sync might be a cause of cancer. One possible explanation for the rise in cancer diagnoses in modern times can be traced to the increased use of chemicals and other synthetic materials in our diets. These chemicals prevent us from obtaining the natural minerals our bodies need in order to function correctly. Also, anxiety and stress lead to increased toxins in the body, which then puts us at higher risk for cancer. Because there are so many different types of cancer, this makes determining the causes and treatments that much more difficult for ayurvedic practitioners.

Panchakarma is a set of five ayurvedic remedies that may or may not all be used as part of a therapeutic cleansing program.

The five parts of panchakarma are:

Nasal application of herbal remedies
Diet is also considered a very important part of treatment. Visiting an ayurvedic practitioner is important in order to develop the proper diet for your body. The practitioner will determine which of the three humors is the predominant one in your body, and then based on this information, can develop a diet for you that will bring the three humors back in balance.

Another important aspect of diet is maintaining the energy level of the food. According to ayurvedic thought, making food cold, for instance, by refrigerating, destroys the natural energy of the food. They believe that this causes the loss of more energy than is lost through cooking. This then leads to poor metabolism, which in turn may lead to someone eventually developing cancer. Of course, not all people who eat refrigerated foods develop cancer. This is because everyone is different. Some people are capable of producing the proper stomach acids to counteract the coldness of the food. These people have what is referred to as “agni” or fire. These people more frequently develop fevers and diarrhea more often than do people who eventually develop cancer, which seems to imply that they are better at excreting the toxins.

Based on these ideas, here are some suggestions:

Take supplements to increase your hydrochloric acid levels
Eat spicy foods to help stimulate the gastric juices
After eating, use digestive bitters to make sure the food moves quickly through the digestive system before the toxins can build up

It is also important to note that ayurvedic medicine does not have to be used to the exclusivity of Western medicine. They can be used together as long as you make sure that all practitioners are aware of what the others are doing. Using ayurvedic techniques for cancer treatment in addition to receiving treatment via Western methods often helps to reduce stress levels which then leads to a better reception of the other treatments.

In particular, be careful when taking herbal supplements when also taking other medications, as they may interact with each other and produce undesired effects. Ayurvedic treatments like yoga and massage are usually safe and provide more benefit than harm.
posted by Unknown @ 4:48 AM   3 comments
Sunday, September 4, 2011
'My Sister's Keeper'
'My Sister's Keeper' a movie that waves many unhidden enmotions for me. A film based on Cancer. A film that shows how a family deals an uncontrolled situaton with immense hope.A sister's dedication to give a thread of hope to her elder sister. Ailing Kate has a hope in Anna. Anna has hope in its wish. Mother has a hope in care. Father has a hope in Family and Brother hopes for all. Its a brilliant movie. I shed tears sometime. I feel that something is attaching myself. Something I am going to miss. Anna and Kate, the protagonists, two sisters, two bodies and one feeling. I am moved by the depiction.

Cancer, is not a word to undestand. It may be debatable that its cure and care is depend on your wealth and faith, but surely its heart rendering that many families has lost many lovely souls.

I dont know how to keep pain in positive words, I dont know how to console a person, who is losin faith in life, but I know that one day its surely 100% curable.

I must suggest everyone to see this flick and understand that relations matter utmost.



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Saturday, April 16, 2011
A Vaccine for Cancer Treatment..
Few News Reports....
Tumour vaccine will be ready by 2013-end ANI, Apr 15, 2011, 11.55am IST Tags: Cancer A ''universal'' vaccine, which is part of a new generation of drugs that use the body's own defenses to fight the disease, stopping tumours in their tracks, could be available in just two years. The TeloVac jab could revolutionise the treatment of cancer. But it is hoped it will be effective against many other tumours, including those of the skin, lung and liver. Breast and prostate cancers may also be within its grasp.
Courtesy - Times of India

Cancer patients begin vaccine trial (UKPA) – 1 day ago More than 1,000 patients with advanced cancer of the pancreas have begun a major trial of a vaccine which could lengthen the lives of sufferers. The final stage of the TeloVac trial, taking place in 53 UK hospitals, is testing an injection which "primes" the body's immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells. Medics hope the therapy will make chemotherapy more effective. Around 7,600 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Britain each year. It is particularly difficult to treat, and only 3% of those diagnosed live more than five years. Smaller studies have found people given the vaccine, called GV1001, as well as chemotherapy live three months longer than those given chemotherapy alone. Even then, they lived an average of just 8.6 months. John Neoptolemos, director of the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre and a leader of the research, told The Times: "This will be a pivotal trial. If it's successful, it would make a real difference to the way clinicians behave and patients are treated." GV1001, made by South Korean pharmaceutical company KAEL GemVax, contains a fragment of an enzyme called telomerase, which is normally found in human embryos and which cancer cells use to divide unchecked. The vaccine teaches T-cells, a part of the immune system, to recognise cells that express telomerase - which in adults are all cancer cells - and attack them. The results of the 1,110-person trial will be announced next autumn, and, if successful, a vaccine could be approved in late 2013 or 2014. Scientists hope the method could work on other types of tumour and a trial for lung cancer is planned for later this year. Cancer Research UK, which funded the research, stressed the vaccine was not a cure for cancer, but could prolong the lives of sufferers.

Courtesy - UKPA

TeloVac pancreatic cancer vaccine trial launched in UK By Fergus Walsh Medical correspondent, BBC News How does the pancreatic cancer vaccine work? A trial has begun on a vaccine treating pancreatic cancer, which has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers. More than 1,000 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer have joined the TeloVac trial at 53 UK hospitals. Vaccines are usually associated with preventing infections, but this is part of a new approach to try to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. The trial involves regular doses of vaccine together with chemotherapy and compares this with chemotherapy alone. The vaccine contains small sections of a protein, telomerase, which is over-produced by cancer cells. The aim is to stimulate the immune system to recognise the telomerase which sits on the surface of the cancer cells and to target the tumour. “Start Quote For someone who's never smoked and hardly ever drank, it was a big shock”End Quote Rhona Longworth Patient Professor John Neoptolemos from Royal Liverpool University Hospital, who is helping to co-ordinate the trial, said: "The problem is tumours are clever and are able to turn the immune cells into traitors which help to guard the tumour. "The vaccine takes away the masking effect of the tumour." Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of all common cancers. Just three in 100 patients survive the disease for five years or more. Rhona Longworth, 43, who was diagnosed with the cancer in February, said: "For someone who's never smoked and hardly ever drank, it was a big shock. "I just hope the vaccine works and I'm one person who goes on to live a happy, healthy life after this." Joan Roberts, 69, said the vaccine appeared to have few side effects and she is keeping her fingers crossed about the impact on her cancer. "I'm pleased that it's stable and it hasn't got any bigger. You've got to remain positive," she said. “Start Quote There is rarely positive news about pancreatic cancer. It has the worst survival rate of all common cancers - worse even than lung cancer”End Quote The TeloVac trial is being funded by Cancer Research UK. The charity is supporting trials against a range of cancers, using vaccines or antibody treatments to stimulate the immune system. Cancer Research UK's chief clinician Professor Peter Johnson said: "One of big problems with cancer treatment is you are almost always left with a few malignant cells and it is from those few cells that the cancer can regrow. "If you can programme the immune system to recognise those cells and get rid of them altogether or keep them in check then you can effectively stop the cancer from growing back lifelong." The South Korean manufacturer of the vaccine, KAEL-GemVax, is planning a lung cancer trial later this year using the same technology. Last year the first therapeutic cancer vaccine was licensed in the US as a treatment against prostate cancer. The Phase III or final stage TeloVac trial should produce results in just over a year which will show whether the vaccine has a positive effect. Cancer Research UK is keen to stress that the vaccine is not a cure, but if it works, might prolong life.

Courtesy - BBC

Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Trial Could Bring Hope April 15, 2011 11:21 AM By Nina Sen Pancreatic cancer Vaccine trials have begun at 53 hospitals in the U.K. According to BBC News, more than 1,000 patients with an advanced stage of the cancer are part of the TeloVac trial. Researchers say the vaccine will stimulate the immune system to fight the disease. "This will be a pivotal trial,” lead researcher John Neoptolemos told The Times. "If it's successful, it would make a real difference to the way clinicians behave and patients are treated." Smaller studies have found people given the vaccine, as well as chemotherapy, live three months longer than those given chemotherapy alone. Called GV1001, the vaccine contains enzymes of telomerase. Telomerase is normally found in embryos and cancer cells. They encourage other cells to grow and in cancer, can multiply unchecked. The vaccine hopes to reach the body’s natural immune-fighting T-cells and prompt them to recognize cells that are malignant. “The problem is tumors are clever and are able to turn the immune cells into traitors, which help guard the tumor,” said Professor John Neotolemos of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, one of the hospitals coordinating the trial. “The vaccine takes away the masking effect of the tumor.” According to the National Cancer Institute, 36,800 people died of pancreatic cancer annually and more than 43,000 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in 2010. If successful, the vaccine could be available as early as 2013.

Courtesy -

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Monday, December 27, 2010
Pallium India's Newsletter -1
From ths week, we share you the Pallium India Newsletter, its an efforts to aware more about the ongoings.


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December 2010 Newsletter
A Carer, Your Support and Forgiveness
Last week, “Suma” committed suicide.
Suma (not her real name) was a 26 year old postgraduate diploma holder in computer science, but had been unable to go to work because she had to care for her mother in their precarious thatched hut, perched on a strip of land that, according to Government records, did not belong to them.
Suma had given up her life to look after the mother. If there was a support system to help care for people like her mother, Suma could have had a good career, built a life and still looked after her mother. But it was not to be. The medical system bled the family and forced them into abject poverty. Neighbours found the mother dead, with Suma hanging right above her.
We palliative care workers are too often overwhelmed by stories like this. We reach them too late, or when we do, our support is nowhere near enough. And, not infrequently, we are forced to reject people who need us most, because they live too far away or simply because their social or other problems are beyond our ability to solve. Some of us burn out, unable to cope with the suffering. Some of us go on, because so many of you out there wish us well and support us.
This Christmas season, we share our pain with all of you for feeling so impotent that we were not able to support Suma and her mother enough.
Suma, you lived a brave and meaningful life while it lasted. We pray for your forgiveness for not being supportive enough.
Palliative Care Workshop at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Centre
One of the greatest failures of the Indian palliative care scene is poor integration into routine health care.
The little palliative care that is in the country, is too often limited to end of life situations, so that patients often have to go through a lot of suffering during months or years of potentially curative treatment. But things are changing, though slowly.
Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Centre at New Delhi has been having a home visit program for a long time and is now seriously considering integration of palliative care into their routine services.

(Dr Dewan addressing the workshop, above.)
As a first step, on December 10th 2010, they organised a one-day workshop on palliative care, which Pallium India had the privilege of participating in.
Mrs Jyotsna Govil, one of the founders, and Dr Dewan, Medical Director, were the chief organizers.
Their enthusiasm was infectious, and we look forward to working with them on their noble mission.
CanSupport 10th Annual Foundation Course in Palliative Care
Dr. Ambika Rajvanshi, Director of Home Care at CanSupport sends us an invite from CanSupport and Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, AIIMS to their:
10th Annual Foundation Course in Palliative Care
21-23 January, 2011 at India International Centre, New Delhi
Course Objectives
To introduce the principles of palliative care to a multi-disciplinary group of doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers and volunteers
To equip participants with knowledge and skills to improve pain and symptom control of patients under their care at home, hospital or hospice
To enable participants to improve their communication skills and handle difficult issues, such as breaking bad news and coping with loss and grief
To demonstrate the need and viability of multi-disciplinary team approach in providing palliative care to patients
Course Details
The course is a concentrated, multidisciplinary introduction to the growing specialty of palliative care. Although the focus is on patients with advanced cancer, the principles discussed are applicable to the care of all patients with life-limiting illnesses. It is a practical structured course aiming to tackle the subject of palliative care in the Indian context. Besides expert trainers from CanSupport and Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, AIIMS, the faculty will consist of national and international experts in palliative care. (Delhi Medical Council accreditation of 19 CME hours)
Course Fee: Rs. 1000/-
Last date for registration: 10 January 2011 (Limited Seats)
Get full registration details on the CanSupport website…
CanKids Capacity Building Workshop, New Delhi

CanKids, in association with INCTR and Pallium India, is held their 2nd Capacity Building Workshop in New Delhi recently.
CanKids 2nd Capacity Building Workshop for Pediatric Cancer Support Services & Pediatric Palliative Care – 14-17th December 2010, New Delhi, India
Trainers included:
Dr Anjay Babu Sadasivan, CanKids Pediatric Palliative Care Physician & Palliative care consultant – GCCI, New Delhi
Dr. Amita Mahajan, Senior consultant & Pediatric Oncologist – Apollo Hospital & CanKids Vice president, Technical
Dr Sindhu Nair, Oncologist and Palliative Care Physician, Global Cancer Concern India
and the CanKids Training Team
More information on the CanKids website…
Access to Pain Relief is a Human Right
Please Sign the Declaration of Montréal
The International Association for Study of Pain (IASP) had organized a “Global Pain Summit” on 3 October 2010 at Montreal, Canada. The chairman of Pallium India was a member of its steering committee.
The summit had announced “The Montreal Declaration“, which has now been accepted by the IASP council. Essentially, the document declares access to pain relief as a human right, and spells out the components of that right.
You can view the declaration at the IASP website and sign the declaration either as an individual or on behalf of an organization.
Please support the cause by signing it.
It will take only a minute of your time!
JCNC Health & Wellness Fair
Pallium India-USA was invited to participate in a Health and Wellness Fair at the Jain Center of Northern California, in Milpitas on 13th November 2010. The event was organised jointly with the South Asian Heart Center.
The topic was Palliative Care and Advance Health Care Directives for the US based South Asian population.
Quite a lot of people expressed interest with two pages of our guestbook filled with names of people who want to know more about Pallium India – many of them want to consider volunteering.
Many thanks, you wonderful people. Expect an email from us soon!
Places Available for APHN Palliative Care Certificate at Flinders University
Ms Wei-Yee from Asia Pacific Hospice Network (APHN), writing on behalf of APHN Chair Dr Cynthia Goh:
The 2011 intake of the APHN Diploma/Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care of Flinders University still has vacancies.
The course fee for selected candidates from India will be at a subsidised rate of USD2,000.
The course application form and funding information can be downloaded from the APHN website…
Wei-Yee goes on to say that additional funding is also possible from Help the Hospices.
If you have questions, plesae contact Wei-Yee by email:
See our previous blog entry on: APHN Diploma Of Palliative Care / Graduate Certificate In Palliative Care
Pediatric Pain Master Class Scholarships
Dr Frank Ferris has informed us of a wonderful scholarship opportunity open to physicians from developing countries, offered by The Foundation of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Children’s Institute for Pain and Palliative Care (CIPPC).
Dr Ferris says, “Dr. Friedrichsdorf and his team are very committed to advancing pediatric palliative care in low and moderate resource countries.”
Scholarships to applicants from developing countries for the Pediatric Pain Master Class, Minneapolis, MN, USA (June 11-17, 2011) plus a one-week clinical practicum (June 6-9, 2011) with the Pain and Palliative Care team. [PDF]
Funded by The Foundation of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the Children’s Institute for Pain and Palliative Care (CIPPC) is offering two competitive scholarships for physicians from developing countries currently working in the field of pediatric pain and/or palliative care.
The recipients of this scholarship will be selected based on leadership abilities, commitment to moving the field of pediatric pain and palliative care forward, and attending to underserved pediatric populations. The goal of this scholarship program is to identify medical professionals who are in a position to improve acute and chronic pain management for children both in their institution and beyond (region or country).
This 2-week International Scholarship includes:
Airfare to and from Minneapolis/St. Paul
Hotel accommodation and meals
1-week practicum with the Pain & Palliative Care Team at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (June 6-9, 2011)
100% course tuition for the Pediatric Pain Master Class, Minneapolis, MN, USA (June 11-17, 2011)
Ongoing mentorship
Click here for full details & Application Guidelines… (PDF)
Two out of three Brits want to die at home…
The DEMOS report, Dying for Change, finds that two out of three Britishers would prefer to die at home, but actually 60% of them die in hospital today. And that is in a country in which the concept of palliative care was born and bred and which is in the forefront in the international palliative care scene.
The report mentions that UK needs 500 billion pounds a year to provide sufficient support at home. Is that not a lot of money? It sure is, but think of the huge amount of money it will save from needless hospital costs!
Dying for Change

The institutionalised ways we cope with dying do not align with how most people aspire to die. Most people want to die with family and friends nearby, cared for, free from pain, with medical support available when needed. Yet most people will die in hospitals and care homes, often cut off from friends and family, dependent on systems and procedures that feel impersonal, over which they have little control and which too often offer them little dignity. We spend large sums of taxpayer’s money – at least £20 billion a year – on services that leave too many people feeling confused, frustrated and distressed too much of the time.
The UK should be able to provide people with better ways to die. The pamphlet argues for improvements to existing services: making end of life advance care plans the norm; training more in the medical profession in palliative care; and more greatly integrating the care services provided by the public, private and voluntary sectors. It also suggests radical innovations: a new infrastructure of home hospices, the creation of a compassionate care benefit and a properly trained volunteer support network providing palliative care – a perfect opportunity for the Big Society. The challenge is to help people to achieve what is most important to them at the end of life. Dying for Change describes how that challenge can be overcome.
When we consider developing countries like India, even if the health care system does not care about the feelings of dying people and their families, it should at least consider the reduction in health care costs!
Palliative Care at the 30th India International Trade Fair 2010
Volunteer palliative care group, Delhites’ National Initiative in Palliative Care (DNipCare), has been exhibiting at the India International Trade Fair 2010 in the Health Ministry pavillion.
The 30th India International Trade Fair is being held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi and runs from 14-27 November, 2010 – more information here…
From the DNipCare blog:
Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Honourable Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare appreciated DNipCare by his jotting down in the Visitor’s book, “I am extremely happy the way DNipCare is providing home to home service. I wish the organization best of luck”.
It is the first time in the history of India International Trade Fair that Palliative Care concept has been given a chance to propagate to the masses. We are grateful to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and also to all our wellwishers who encouraged us in our mission for the ailing patients.
Visit the DNipCare blog for more pictures…
Congratulations, DNipCare! And thank you Mr Suresh Thaliyaril for sending the information to us.
We’ve blogged about DNipCare before: Indian Express: Weekend Visits
Institute of Palliative Medicine: WHO Collaborating Centre
Dr Suresh Kumar, Director of the Institute of Palliative Medicine (Calicut) informs us of a new designation from the World Health Organization:
Dear All, Happy to inform you that Institute of Palliative Medicine has been designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHOCC) in Palliative Care. IPM becomes the fifth WHOCC in Palliative Care in the World and the first one in the Developing world. We hope that this important designation to a center in India can be used to strengthen the evolving national palliative care initiative in the country.
Regards,Dr Suresh KumarDirector, WHO Collaborating Center for Community Participation in Palliative Care and Long Term Care
HIV/AIDS, India and Our Collective Conscience

Do you see a scar going round the neck?
That scar should be on our collective conscience.
“Ramesh” (not his real name) is just 25. The industrialization of our brave new India drove him from his agricultural land in rural Karnataka and made him a truck driver. When he got pain in his tummy and eventually was given a diagnosis of HIV, that world rejected him. Pain, HIV and the rejection together forced him to try to hang himself. “I did not succeed even in that,” he says ruefully.
How many thousands of desperate men in every state in India are like him, in pain and suffering, rejected by the medical system and the society?
Enormous advances have been made in India in developing a care system for those with HIV, but that system does not yet embrace pain relief or palliative care.
“Ramesh” is one of a small minority of people with HIV and pain who get care and pain relief. He has been taken in by Asha Jyoti, a care centre run by “Samraksha“ in Kushtagi, Northern Karnataka.
Over the last two months Pallium India has been collaborating with Samraksha to bring in routine pain assessment and symptom control as part of the routine care at Asha Jyoti.
There is a long way to go yet at Asha Jyoti, but a good beginning has been made, and an amazingly sincere team is doing a wonderful job.
But how long will it be before pain relief and palliative care become essential components of HIV care in India?
Watch more video testimonials on Samraksha’s Youtube channel which includes Paramesh’s on Asha Jyoti in Kushtagi.
Sea of Poppies

The issue of opioid availability is such a huge concern for palliative care people that all their antennae go up when they hear the word ‘poppy’.
Well, you will not regret it if you pick up “Sea of Poppies” by Amitav Ghosh (Penguin Books, 2008) – a book short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2008.
Set on the Gangetic plains and the wide ocean during the days of the British Raj, it is indeed a masterpiece. Read it and it will take you inside the Opium and Alkaloid Factory in Ghazipur. And the poppy is indeed a major character in the book,
Like all the gifts that Nature gives us – fire, water and the rest – it [opium] demands to be used with the greatest care and caution.
Wise words indeed. We palliative care people in the developing world particularly need to remember this. In our enthusiasm to improve access to opioids, do we sometimes forget to ensure that it is stored, dispensed and monitored with caution?
The Avastin Debate
One of the fundamental ethical principles of medical practice is “Justice” – the fair allocation of available resources. So, should the National Health Service of UK offer Avastin, a drug that can possibly prolong survival in cancer?
When the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced that it would not approve funding for Avastin, it set off a predictable firestorm of protests from concerned groups.
The Guardian points out that a rational discussion should take into consideration a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that early access to palliative care improved survival by as much as three months in people with lung cancer.
It also showed that access to early palliative care increases the likelihood of people getting precisely what they want out of their final months and reduces suffering, depression and burden on their family at the same time enabling them to live longer.
Interesting, is it not, that despite this evidence, there are people to fight for Avastin, but not for the much less expensive option of early access to palliative care!
New Section: Your Health

Pallium India is honoured to partner with American Cancer Society (ACS) in disseminating an excellent resource on cancer “prevention to palliation with an additional focus on their caregivers”.
The material, created by an expert ACS team of medical editors from India and the US under the guidance of a National Advisory Board (India), falls into two categories:
KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHYA series of documents about healthy behaviours and prevention & early detection for breast, cervix, and oral cancers and
IF YOU HAVE CANCERDocuments addressing common issues such as side affects, pain, lab tests, etc. that patients and their caregivers are concerned about when undergoing cancer treatment.
Access these precious documents FREE from our new ‘Your Health’ page…
The PDF files are available in English, Hindi and Gujarati. Please share them with your colleagues, friends and family.
If you have taken a good look at the WHO’s definition of palliative care, you would recollect that it includes “prevention of suffering”.
Why should we wait till a cancer has progressed to the incurable stage and then only provide tender loving care? Let us do what we can to prevent suffering.
Medicated into Poverty

We have, on this blog, talked about the high costs of modern medical treatment and its impact on society.
The 2009 edition of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine says,
… a study in rural Kerala, South India, of those below the poverty line, the main reason for the poverty in nearly 30 percent of cases was the cost of medical treatment.
Well, India does not seem to have monopoly on the matter. The UK’s Independent newspaper reports in “Counting the cost of a drugs revolution” that Western medicines are making China’s ancient medical practices increasingly redundant, but their high price tag is also pushing millions further into poverty.
A Beautiful Death – Facing the Future with Peace
Cheryl Eckl shares her poignant story in “A Beautiful Death – Facing the Future with Peace”, her book on facing death, grief and loss with confidence, peace and grace,
I wrote this book because I was moved to share what I learned from facing death.
In 2004 I was living a dream. I had been married to Stephen, the love of my life, for 14 years. But when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I suddenly found myself on an unexpected and unwelcome journey with no road map.
At first I did my best to keep him alive, to preserve our life together, to give us more time to love each other. When it became horribly clear that he was not going to make it, I had to change my focus from his survival to easing his pain and helping him through the dying process as authentically as he had lived.
A Beautiful Death is our story of love and loss, of learning and letting go, of my doing absolutely all I was capable of for the one I loved. And of believing that, while nothing could save him, everything I did could contribute to a better end.
I wrote this book to explain to myself what happened so I could bear to go on with my life alone. And I wrote it for you as proof that not only can you handle whatever challenges life sends you, but you can also become more present to life’s joys in the process.
Dying is something we will all do in this life, and it is likely to be difficult; but what matters is who we are being while we’re doing it. Stephen taught me that and that’s the story I fashioned from the journals I had kept during our 18 years together.
Throughout Stephen’s illness, I found that reading about how other people faced death gave me courage and confidence that I could walk up to that final doorway with my beloved. I hope that reading A Beautiful Death does the same for you.
Cheryl offers plenty of helpful advice on her blog…
A Letter: Parent to Parent
Here is a letter from a parent who suffered prolonged pain and finally loss of a child – to any parent whose child has been given a difficult diagnosis or who has lost a child. The writer is Ms Dianne Gray of Elisabeth Kübler Ross Foundation.
Dear Parent,
First, my most sincere condolences on the diagnosis of your child.
Second, hold on to your to hat, your heart, your mind, and most of all, get ready for the ride of your life.
You will no longer see life as expendable, and you will never be able to go back to a time when the candles of a birthday cake mean looking forward with hope or with an eager anticipation of joyous beginnings.
I know because, like you, I was once the parent of a child who was newly diagnosed with an incurable disease. The most honest advice I can give is this: Let the dishes pile up in the sink (though mold is just plain gross) and let the fresh air in, because there is no time like the present to enjoy your child’s laughter and smell his or her skin. Kick your shoes off, eat popcorn in bed, then have a good hard cry. First for your child, then for yourself.
Honestly, not only is your child’s life ending, but your lifetime dreams have just been “put to sail”, so to speak. Feel sorry for yourself, because you deserve it. Then get up, and make the most of the incredible life lesson that you have just received. It’s called, “Life is Short.” You will never, ever, take a day or an hour with your child or any other loved one, for granted again.
Trust me, there are millions of drugs sold every day to people who are filled with a life lacking gratitude or an appreciation for those around them. You will not be in line for those, though at times you will feel like you need some sort of pharmaceutical assistance to get through the day. Shockingly, you probably will not need them because your drive to protect and love your child will act as a drug itself.
Most important, listen to your gut, your intuition. You know what I’m talking about. Some of you already knew before you were told by your child’s physician, that you were in deep, deep “doo-doo” as they say, when it came to the topic of your child’s health. On those days when you look into your child’s eyes, and you “know” something is wrong, listen. No one knows your child as well as you do. You have probably been “connected” way before the moment of his/her diagnosis, so trust your intuition and take seriously your role as your child’s advocate, mouthpiece, and protector.
Finally, remember that you are loved by a community that is by far larger than you can possibly imagine at this moment. The “club” of parents who have had sick kids is many and we are mighty. We may not carry on our backs a placard that says “mother of dying or dead child”, but we are there and we love you though we don’t know you. We are in line at the grocery store and the mall. We are in the elevator, at the gas station, and on airplanes sitting next to you. We ache for you and somehow, we know of your unspeakable burden.

Reach out for help sometimes when it seems completely ridiculous or terrifying to do so. You never know who will standing beside you. It may even be me.
Blessings as you continue your journey,Dianne Gray
As We Close Out 2010…
No matter how much we read about suffering or watch other people suffering, it is only when we ourselves suffer that we know what pain is.
This Christmas season, let us take a pledge to be sensitive to the suffering of others.
Life does not require us to make good, it asks only that we give our best at each level of experience.
Wishing You All a Happy New Year. We Look Forward to Your Continued Support and Encouragement in 2011.
Thank you for reading & subscribing to our newsletter!Please share this with your colleagues & friends.Don't forget to check our blog and follow our Twitter @PalliumIndia.
Editorial Board: K Govindan Kutty, A Salahuddin Kunju, C Mohanan, Dr Michael Minton, Rakesh Menon & M R Rajagopal.
Please send us feedback about the newsletter here...
PALLIUM INDIA (A REGISTERED CHARITABLE TRUST) Address: II Floor, S.U.T. Speciality Hospital, Plamood, Trivandrum 695004, Kerala, India Phone: +91 471 244 0306 (office) & +91 938 729 6889 (mobile) Fax: +91 471 244 0306 Email: Web:


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posted by Unknown @ 12:14 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A way to help
Hello All,

After returning from Global Cancer summit, I am much aware of the concern, world has. 'Cancer is Curable', this the motto. 26 Indian NGO's are there, they are working passionately for the cause.

This information is about one NGO, who is working from New Delhi.

Hope this works for betterment of the cause.

Aware Cancer



A mission to “Win over Cancer”

(A Unit of I Can Win Foundation) Regd. Office: D-10/54, Sec-7, Rohini, New Delhi– 110085
Tel: +9111-27933358. Email:

President : Dr Pawan Gupta M.Ch. Oncosurgeon; mob: 9811290152

To change the way cancer is perceived by the society

Dear Winners',Greetings from Indian Cancer Winners' Association and best Wishes for the festive season ahead.With your help I CAN WIN Association has been able to change peoples' perception towards cancer. The associations endeavour to win over cancer creating awareness and early detection is possible only with your active participation.We are making more WINNERS, by changing lives helping in staying well with a positive spirit.I thank you on joining the campaign "WIN OVER CANCER",

I invite you for your comments and suggestions on our blogspotto keep this movement up and about

Just in case you are not already a member/friend/volunteer/donor, the form is attached for your ready utilization.

POSITIVE ABOUT LIFE - I CAN WINregardspawanDr Pawan Gupta MS, M.Ch, FSOG, FAISPresident Indian Cancer Winners' AssociationSr. Consultant Cancer Surgeon-- INDIAN

CANCER WINNERS ASSOCIATION“A mission to Win over Cancer ” (A Unit of I Can Win Foundation) Regd. Office: D-10/54, Sec-7, Rohini, New Delhi– 110085Tel: +9111-27933358. are exempt from Income Tax under Section 80G of the IT Act 1961)National Chapter:President:Dr Pawan Gupta M.Ch.Delhi 9811290152Vice President-Mr R.K.Goel MBA Ghaziabad 9810705342Dr Manish Wadhwa MD Faridabad 9811661298Secretary-Mr Suresh Prakash MBA Ghaziabad 9891948444 Faridabad Chapter -Dr B.C.Gupta MD Faridabad 9810373490Secretary-Dr Prashant Gupta MD Palwal 9813389010 Moradabad ChapterPresident-Mr Yogendra Agarwal 9412244844Secretary-Mr J.S.Agarwal 09837050906Ghaziabad Chapter:President-Mrs Prabha Gupta 9650295190Secretary-Mr MAnish Goel 9999994737 Gurgoan Dr Amitabh Singh M.Ch. 9910302483

-- INDIAN CANCER WINNERS ASSOCIATION“A mission to Win over Cancer ” (A Unit of I Can Win Foundation) Regd. Office: D-10/54, Sec-7, Rohini, New Delhi– 110085Tel: +9111-27933358. are exempt from Income Tax under Section 80G of the IT Act 1961)National Chapter:President:Dr Pawan Gupta M.Ch.Delhi 9811290152Vice President-Mr R.K.Goel MBA Ghaziabad 9810705342Dr Manish Wadhwa MD Faridabad 9811661298Secretary-Mr Suresh Prakash MBA Ghaziabad 9891948444 Faridabad

Chapter -Dr B.C.Gupta MD Faridabad 9810373490Secretary-Dr Prashant Gupta MD Palwal 9813389010 Moradabad ChapterPresident-Mr Yogendra Agarwal 9412244844Secretary-Mr J.S.Agarwal 09837050906Ghaziabad Chapter:President-Mrs Prabha Gupta 9650295190Secretary-Mr MAnish Goel 9999994737 Gurgoan Dr Amitabh Singh M.Ch. 9910302483

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posted by Unknown @ 6:27 PM   41 comments
Friday, August 28, 2009

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posted by Unknown @ 2:19 PM   1 comments
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit 2009- Day1

Hello All,

Its an achievement. The Global Cancer Summit organized by LIVESTRONG is a history. Around representatives from 60 coutries are attending this summit in Dublin Ireland. Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor and famous cyclist is behind all.

Its a great honour for India, that the summoit begins with an movie from Kerala. Some reacted positively on this.

The first day is little talky. Lance Armstrong attended two sessions, many health ministers, activist, NGO people, industry guys discussed cancer.

The summit first day is worthy, it generated a new view and discussion beyond various cultures, repreneted by people.

I also loved to listen the Egypt Health minister, regarding his views on expensive drugs and the take on industry.

Have connected...there is lot more to come..



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posted by Cancer Awareness @ 12:27 AM   0 comments
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Eye on Cancer
Keep an eye on your child’s eyes: that white spot might be cancer

It was the third World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week from 10-16 May 2009. Time to take a look at a disease that is not be so deadly if diagnosed early

About 1500 children are diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, or retinoblastoma, every year in India। If an average Indian classroom has 50 students, the number afflicted with retinoblastoma would cover one whole school each इयर

The irony is, many of these children diagnosed with retinoblastoma will never go to school. Retinoblastoma primarily affects children between the ages of one and five years. Sadly, most of these children could have been learning their standing and sleeping lines if one informed adult had given a seemingly innocuous eye problem more thought.
According to Santosh Honavar, ocular oncologist with LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, and one of India’s most highly regarded retinoblastoma specialists, “The lives of 95% of children who receive protocol-based treatment can be saved.” Treatment can save the eyes of at least 70% of the children diagnosed overall. That’s 2,100 eyes saved every year. For the others, the only viable option is to remove the eye.
The reasoning sounds simple; but reality, whether in rural India or the national capital, is different.
What that long word means
Retinoblastoma is literally cancer that attacks the retina. Till a decade or so ago, this rare condition was fatal since just 3 of 10 advanced cases were curable.
Also Read more about retinoblastoma in our earlier article ‘Looking Ahead
Advancements in early diagnosis and in treatment made it possible to cure 9 of 10 patients. In the last few years, say experts in India, the introduction of new treatment techniques such as periocular chemotherapy with nanoparticles has ensured that the vision and lives of 70% of children with advanced retinoblastoma are saved. This is a huge jump from the earlier 30%.
When ignorance is not bliss
Sadly, the 30% of children who lose their vision or even their life to retinoblastoma are not entirely let down by technology being beaten by a raging tumour. “The major loose link in retinoblastoma is the delay in diagnosis,” points out Dr Santosh Honavar, who continues to see patients in advanced stages. As you read this, Shreyas Barthwal of NOIDA, just 22 months old, battles retinoblastoma.
His parents were concerned about a squint in the right eye of their two-month-old baby and took him to several established hospitals, but paediatricians dismissed the squint as innocuous. Shreyas also had white flecks on his eye ball from the time he was a few months old. By the time the cancer was detected and treatment began at LV Prasad Eye Institute, Shreyas, an active and seemingly healthy baby, was about 18 months old. The tumour had spread to both eyes by then. While the average eyeball measures about 25mm across, the tumour in Shreyas’ right eye was 20mm. The right eye may have suffered irreparable damage, those treating him fear. Doctors are trying to save what they can of his left eye.
The Barthwals are coming to grips with the harm that the delay in diagnosis has caused. Says Shreyas’ father Naveen Barthwal, “My anger and agony are directed at the paediatricians we go to for routine vaccinations. They are authorized to treat the child, and it is their duty to spot minor abnormalities and conduct a complete examination of the child.”
Vijay Anand P Reddy, Director, Apollo Cancer Institute, Hyderabad and Consultant Oncologist, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, agrees: ”For children in the 0-4 years age group, the primary physician is the paediatrician: It is quite likely that every parent takes the child to see a paediatrician for either vaccination, a common cold or other problem. So I feel that paediatricians should be alert and consciously look into the eyes of the child who is in their care”. And it is incumbent on them to do so even when the parents do not report an eye problem.Yet, the eye check is often overlooked while doctors peer into problems of the ear, throat and nose. Just “asking the parents a question or two… will help the paediatrician identify if the child requires a complete eye examination,” adds Dr Reddy.
Vasantha Thavaraj, from the Department of Paediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi is also Deputy Director (Indian Council of Medical Research). She has seen over 1,200 cases of retinoblastoma since 1990. Dr Thavaraj says, “Even ophthalmologists have misguided parents by prescribing eye drops for up to one year.”
Spreading the word
Some hospitals, such as AIIMS, are stepping up awareness drives among the lay parents as well as among doctors. The L V Prasad Eye Institute has distributed posters in Hindi, Telugu and English among paediatricians and ophthalmologists in Andhra Pradesh. And the initiative is working. Dr Thavaraj, who has spearheaded several awareness camps, has seen a change since 1990. “Earlier, I’d see patients in the advanced stage 4 all the time... Now, more than half the cases I see are intraocular retinoblastoma, which is a much earlier stage and curable. About 40% are advanced extra-ocular cases.”
Dr Thavaraj is now studying the possibility of introducing an eye screening programme with the mandatory immunization schedule. He would like to see each child have a separate eye health card and get screened for retinoblastoma. “I hope to train district-level doctors, including paediatricians, through workshops repeatedly for a year and then see how it goes.”
She has already carried out something similar in Najafgarh, Delhi, screening 700 children at the district hospital after their pulse polio immunization in 2005.
Two years down the line
That would bring some peace to the Barthwals who now spread the word about early symptoms of retinoblastoma wherever they can. “We cried all day when we learnt about Shreyas’ tumours,” recall the Barthwals. Through the six cycles of chemotherapy, they “wept and shattered a thousand times”. Because they know now what Dr Reddy points out: “With early diagnosis, we will be able to save the life of the child, the cancer can be treated so that the eyes are not removed and the child’s eyesight can be protected. The paediatrician is key to early diagnosis of retinoblastoma.”
Watch out!
Make it a habit to observe children’s eyes. Get them checked if you notice:
cat’s eye’ or a whitish pupil that reflects light
• a squint
• photograph shows no healthy red glint in the pupil (deplored as ‘red eye’, this is actually a sign of a normal retina)
• a spot growing on the iris
• a bulge in the eye
• unusual or uncoordinated eye movements
• complaints of floating spots or flashes of light
• a family history of retinoblastoma (the faulty Rb gene can lead to bilateral retinoblastoma, which affects both eyes: one of three cases is genetic, so if there is a family history, screen the child regularly until she is five years old)

Write to us at

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posted by Unknown @ 5:56 PM   1 comments
Sunday, April 12, 2009
help ramani
Venkat Ramani is 40, an architect, employed with a Project Management firm.
During a routine health check up in the third week of December 2008, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) with Philadelphia positive (PH+) chromosome, a type of blood cancer.
He was immediately admitted to a hospital in Mumbai and has undergone 4 out of the total 8 rounds of chemotherapy.
He has already spent substantial funds – several lakhs of rupees – during the last three months of hospitalisation. It will take atleast six months for Ramani to resume work full-time.
Ramani is in complete remission and the consulting doctors have advised Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). Unfortunately, his bone marrow type has not matched with either of his two siblings and we have initiated a global search for a matched unrelated donor (MUD).
The minimum estimated cost for this procedure ranges from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2 crore (US $400,000) depending on the chosen transplant centre. He has pooled in all his savings and liquidated his assets to generate funds to the tune of Rs 50 lakh (US $100,000). This is in addition to the amount already spent during the last over three months.
But since his resources are not going to cover the above-mentioned cost, this is an appeal for voluntary financial help.
Your contribution could go a long way in giving him a new lease of life.
Ramani has an eight year old daughter, Tanaya, who wishes to see her father fighting fit again.
Ramani looks forward to the day when he is no longer considered just a cancer survivor, but an activ­ist for cancer awareness. Help make his dreams come true.
For any queries please mail us at

posted by Unknown @ 1:09 AM   0 comments
Thursday, January 29, 2009
India Online Childhood Cancer Survivor Network
Hello all,

How can you share you pain, agony, trauma. A social system always helpful. So, scoial networking is very popular nowdays.

Cancer need discussion. Poonam better understand the need.


Dear Doctors,

It gives me the greatest pleasure to inform you that our young childhood cancer survivors and their friends are ready to launch the KCK India Online Childhood Cancer Survivor Network on Sunday Feb 15th in NEw Delhi, on the occasion of the 8th International Childhood Cancer Day.

I am proud to forward this message from them.

Please do encourage your Cancer Survivors to become founder members of the network.

Thank you

Warm regards
Poonam Bagai
President Cankids


Dear Doc

A very Happy New Year from the gang of KidsCan Konnect (KCK).

KCK, the youth club of CanKids...KidsCan, is a group of teenage & young adults who have faced/are facing cancer( survivors/patients) and non-sufferers. it aims at reintegrating the cancer survivors back into the society.

KCK's growing bigger & better.
We are creating an India Online Childhood Cancer Survivor Network in it's name.
A SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITE where cancer survivors/patients and non-sufferers interact, express, share their life, pour their hearts out through features like Chatrooms, Discussion forums etc
here's how KCK looks like

we urge you dear doctor to lend KCK your support in building up of this network.
U just need to encourage Cancer Survivors whom you might know, to become Founder members of this network.
Founder members....who will get the privilige of being among the select few already logged in, on the day of its launch. In addition to this, they also get to give in their ideas & improve the look of it..

We will be launching this network on the 15th February '09, The Interntional Childhood Cancer Day.

And we want maximum Cancer affected kids to be involved, benefit and help others like themselves.

So kindly help us out!!

Megha Bahl Kapil Chawla
KCK Co-President KCK President (Survivor - Hodgkins Lymphoma)

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posted by Unknown @ 6:06 PM   0 comments
Monday, December 1, 2008
Acheivement for sincere work

Our President, Poonam Bagai, has been awarded the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award 2008 for outstanding services, achievements and contributions in the field of social services on the occasion of the 91st Birth Anniversary of Late Smt. Indira Gandhi, on Wednesday, 19th Novemeber , 2008. The award was presented by His Excellency, Mr M..C Bhandare, the Governor of Orissa, at a ceremony organized by the All India National Unity Conference, at India International Centre in New Delhi.

A total of 57 awards were given to men and women from all over India, from different walks of life, in recognition of their effort to strengthen India's unity and economic development. THe Awards are organized by the All India National Unity Conference, which is working for people's movement for national unity and integration and decided by an Advisory Board of Ministers, high profile politicians, MPs, Judges and journalists. Poonam Bagai, a colon cancer survivor, is the founder President of CanKids…KidsCan, a family support group enabling children and their families faced with cancer, and the children's unit of Indian Cancer Society, Delhi branch. She is also the Deputy Chairperson of Pallium India, a charitable trust dedicated to providing quality palliative care in India, Joint Secretary Indian Cancer Society, Delhi Branch, Member Cancer Sahyog, an emotional support group of survivors and caregivers. . She supports Forum for Breast Cancer Protection and has acted in a film on Breast Self Examination. She is also alumni of American Cancer Society University. She loves children and is passionate about making a difference to the causes of Childhood Cancer and Palliative Care in India. Her motto also the motto of CanKids:

"Because I am Able…Because I Can" (In Hindi "Kyonki Hum Saksham Hain…Kyonki Hum Kar Sakte Hain" Details of the Award and some pics are attached.


Joe Sahgal,

Director Admin, HR and Finance

pH: +91 9810082188

Poonam Bagai, President,


D 7/7 Vasant Vihar

New Delhi-110057

Mob: +91 9811525745

Off: +91 11-41663670/71/72


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posted by Cancer Awareness @ 1:51 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Life after
Harmala is a cancer survivor and started CanSupport, a cancer support group in Delhi
It’s a few days to Deepavali. At the bright and airy day care centre run by CanSupport in Delhi, the energy is palpable. As the crowd of children, parents and volunteers watch, a magician in a cheerful green cape transports us all into a land where wonder and magic still exist. A mundane Monday morning, the diagnosis of cancer, hospital visits and medicines are forgotten for a magical half hour. Sharing in the joy is Harmala Gupta, president, CanSupport.

In 1986, while she had enrolled at McGill University, Montreal, for a PhD, Harmala was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Her son was just three. Apart from the numbing thought that cancer can kill, Harmala knew little about the disease. She knew even less about Hodgkin’s and still remembers wondering if it was something similar to Parkinson’s since they both sound “distinguished.” It was only later that she found out that it is a lymphoma that gets its name from Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it in 1832. It is also one of the first cancers known to have been cured by radiation and later, by chemotherapy.

Harmala has been there, facing the numbing reality of diagnosis, going through the various phases on an emotional roller coaster. That is why today, she can advise others diagnosed with cancer not to take it personally. Most often, after the shock wears off, is the ‘why me’? phase and then, guilt and blame and even a stage of bargaining. “That’s wrong,” she stresses of the self-reproach and blame, “It leads nowhere and adds to the existing trauma. Come to immediate acceptance, pick up as much information on the problem as you can and help yourself. This is where we often fail.”

She even went through denial and wondering if her problem was tuberculosis. That’s when her practical doctor helped her snap out of the delusion. “Stop clutching at straws. I need your help in this fight,” the doctor said. That transformed Harmala from feeling victimised to knowing she was empowered.

Her doctor also helped her focus on the fight with a diet to follow and with advice but in spite of it all, Harmala recalls one chilling panic attack she suffered that began with a pain in her chest. “I thought I was dying, and was rushed to emergency.” There, another doctor identified the problem as a panic attack, reminded her to breathe easy and saw her through. “My doctors assured me that nothing is too small to discuss,” she recalls with gratitude.

When she was better, Harmala returned to India. The reality here hit her hard. This, when she went to some of the best doctors in the country. One doctor dismissed the Canadian doctor’s diagnosis. Another did not bother to see her earlier liver function records and pronounced the cancer had spread to her liver. “It just added to my trauma,” she remembers.

Harmala knew she had to bring to cancer patients in India the support structure that had seen her through in Canada. In 1991, she began Cancer Sahyog, a voluntary organisation of cancer survivors and caregivers offering emotional and other help to people living with cancer.

From that experience was born CanSupport, a home care project that got an impetus from Ruth Wooldridge, a nurse from the UK who had started a hospice in Kenya. The day care programme, where the magician left the children agape, began later, on August 1, 2003. The message the team carries is essentially: don’t let the flame die out. It may be flickering today, but we are all there to fight the wind that threatens to blow it out.

Benita Sen

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posted by Unknown @ 10:00 AM   1 comments
Monday, September 15, 2008
A 'leaf' of HISTORY...
Health enemy numero uno!

Benita Sen

Tobacco has been smoked or chewed for thousands of years. And yet, the knowledge of the huge health dangers from this plant is rather recent, laments Benita Sen

As an amateur gardener, one is often looking for ‘green’ or organic ways to keep the garden pest-free. Perhaps the most lasting home remedies for pests is tobacco water. Most stubborn invaders balk at the treatment.

That is one indication of the damage tobacco can wreak. Little wonder, then, that two philanthropists got together to fight the use of tobacco across the world. On 23 July 2008, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates pledged $500 million “to help governments in developing countries” reduce the use of tobacco.

New knowledge

As Bill Gates pointed out about his involvement with the scheme, “Tobacco-caused diseases have emerged as one of the greatest health challenges facing developing countries.”

To many of us, the operative words there are “have emerged.” This knowledge is barely a couple of generations young. Tobacco has been smoked or chewed for thousands of years. And yet, the knowledge of the huge health dangers from this plant is rather recent. Millions of people in ours and several other countries, in the 40+ bracket, took for granted the notion, perpetrated by films, advertisements and other media, that smoking is hip and happening.

If you grew up goggle-eyed as Clark Gable sauntered across the scene, the cigar was not far from your consciousness. If you tramped to movie halls to catch Hindi films, you imitated icons like Dev Anand and hummed his Hum Dono song, har fikar ko dhoonye mein udata chala gaya as a yardstick of nonchalance.
The more bindaas would opt for a beedi. Our generation may not have imagined we’d live to see a film titled No Smoking. We did not know that tobacco could be that harmful. Not till we were adults. Not because science hadn’t caught on, but because the news had not been disseminated as much as it has been in the next few decades.

Long history

The realisation of what imbibing tobacco can do, is almost a century old. In 1911, Dr Isaac Adler (1849 – 1918) raised the first suspicion that tobacco was linked to lung cancer.

That inkling may be as pathbreaking as Dr Ronald Ross’ 1897 comprehension of a link between mosquitoes and malaria. August 20, the day of Ross’ realisation, is earmarked as World Mosquito Day. May 31 is earmarked as World No Tobacco Day but given the dimensions of the problem, perhaps tobacco could have more days earmarked to drawing attention to its dangers.

Just three years after Adler, a concerned Thomas Alva Edison wrote to Henry Ford expressing his fear that cigarettes are dangerous to brain cells, although he noted that the danger "comes principally from the burning paper wrapper” which produces acrolein, a toxic, instable aldehyde that is a known lung irritant and a suspected carcinogen in humans. “Unlike most narcotics,” warned Edison, who did not employ smokers, “this degeneration (of brain cells) is permanent and uncontrollable.”

One of the most convincing findings came in the middle of the last century. In 1950 Dr Morton Levin of the Department of Epidemiology noted in a study what many before him had suspected: tobacco was linked to lung cancer.

Newer findings

But now that tobacco is recognized as a health enemy, it is crawling camouflaged into products you and I may not suspect as dangers. Prabha Chandra and Uzma Mulla of NIMHANS pointed out in their 2007 report, ‘Areca Nut: The hidden Indian ‘gateway’ to future tobacco use and oral cancers among youth’ (Indian Journal of Medical Sciences vol 61 issue 6), Indian youth are faced with a new enemy their parents were not up against: camouflaged deadlies like areca nut and tobacco in most brands of pan masala.

What is alarming is that the perceived respectability of pan masala makes it a deadly gender equalizer: although fewer Indian women smoke, both men and women consume pan masala with equal fervour. The gender inequity does not stop there. According to the Bloomberg Foundation, “On average, male beedi smokers lose about 6 years of life, (while) female beedi smokers lose about 8 years of life.”

The buck stops here

Does all this knowledge mean we are better armed to fight the deadly leaf? Yes and no. Studies have found that most developed countries reported a fall in the sale of cigarettes among those with more education. Logical, since self-preservation runs strong in all forms of life.

But that’s where the truism ends for us. This is the opposite in India. Even the World Bank notes in Economics of Tobacco in India, “As the education increases, (people) in urban and rural households with a higher education smoke more cigarettes compared to lower educated households.”

The answer to this perplexing trend could lie in the newly-found purchasing power that makes one throw caution to the winds. Perhaps these consumers could be reminded of the findings shared by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, “Tobacco use is deadly.” In any form. Whether as cigarettes, beedis, gutkha or even the innocuous pan masala. Period. We cannot afford to lose 2,200 Indians every day because of a tobacco-related disease.

Courtesy: Deccan Herald

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posted by Cancer Awareness @ 11:00 PM   2 comments
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Indian children with cancer nominated at Australian Children’s film festival
enabling children and families faced with cancer

(A unit of Indian Cancer Society, Delhi Branch)

D7/7, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057, INDIA

Ph : (91) 11 41663670/1/2 Mobile: (91) 9953591578

e-mail: Web:

“Fight for Life” – a film made by Indian children with cancer nominated at Australian Children’s film festival – only Indian entry to be nominated

It was a long awaited dream for UK based young professionals freelancing in film-making and design - Mantavya (Indian) and Daria (Russian) that was made possible by the Philip Russell Travel Scholarship from Kingston University London and the Seagate Creative Fund. They had one desire in their hearts, that was to give something back to the communities from where they have come. With this in mind they embarked on a journey that would test their existence as creative individuals and passionate human beings. They wanted to share their knowledge and experience with children who might not get a chance to do so.

Their first stop was New Delhi in India. Mantavya and Daria visited the children of Cankids Kidscan – a unit of Indian Cancer society of India. Their plan was to empower these children with the techniques and abilities to film and create stunning designs for film. The goal was to help these children embrace film and design techniques that would not only better their skills but also benefit them in the future.

The duo worked with a group of 12 children and parents for two weeks, teaching them everything from scratch. The main aim for the children in the project was to come up with an idea for a short film, write a script, shoot the film, edit it, design the posters for the film and then have a grand premier for everybody to see.

The children’s film ‘Fight for Life’ is based on a true story, and is about facing realities with cancer. Scripted by the children themselves, the story follows Sonu, a child with cancer whose mother has left him due to the pressures of poverty, and Sonam, a woman, whose son did not survive the disease. The children were so excited about the film and having their roles of directors and actors that they were willing to shoot twenty four hours a day without stopping. Some of the children were finishing off their home work and visits to their doctors early just so that they could put in an extra hour of creating magic on film. Fight for Life premiered in Delhi in Feb 08.

Soon after, Mantavya and Daria travelled to a boarding school in Yekaterinburg (Russia) to teach visually impaired children film making. Here too the the project lasted fifteen days. Children between the ages of twelve and sixteen were put incharge of devising an idea for a short film and then shooting it all by themselves. The children came up with a film titled ‘Blind Love’ which follows a ‘strange’ girl Sonya as she finds herself in midst of a love triangle and tries to make sense of where her heart truly lies.

And now, both sets of children are hugely excited as both the films ‘Blind Love’ and ‘Fight for Life’ have been nominated for the Auburn International Film Festival for Children and Young Adults in Australia and now will compete for a prize in September 2008.

Other than teaching these children film making and design in both the countries Mantavya and Daria were also documenting this process. In India they met Uday, a talented twelve year old boy suffering from osteosarcoma of the leg. His wish was to become the designer of the film. Daria took him under her wing and taught him graphic design within two weeks, so that he could finally make the film poster for the day of the premier. The premier came swiftly and film was finally released. Uday’s mother on seeing his poster was so proud of him that she burst into tears.

At the moment Mantavya and Daria are working on their documentary titled ‘What Colour is Black’ about their experiences of working with children in both the countries. The documentary is in its final stage of post production and the DVDs with all extras including the children’s films will be available soon from their website The money collected from the DVD sales will be donated to Cankids...Kidscan and the boarding school in Russia. The trailer will be available on the Thingamagic wesbite by the end of August 2008.

“This trip has changed us. We found a new beginning in ourselves and the children we worked with. We also learnt a lot from these children who are challenging themselves every day with their own problems and fears. Now we are planning to continue with such trips and are constantly looking for opportunities where we can share our knowledge and experiences while helping people to believe in themselves and their future regardless of their situations.”

You are cordially invited to attend. For details contact Poonam Bagai, President, Cankids at 9811525745, or Abhijit Roy, Program Officer at 9971841305.

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