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Table of Contents
PATIENT/CAREGIVER CORNER
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 664-665

Cancer - Not a sin but a disease


Date of Submission02-Nov-2021
Date of Decision13-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance15-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication29-Dec-2021

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_257_21

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How to cite this article:
Anonymous. Cancer - Not a sin but a disease. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:664-5

How to cite this URL:
Anonymous. Cancer - Not a sin but a disease. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 20];4:664-5. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2021/4/4/664/334202



I would like to say to all that cancer is a disease which can be cured fully if diagnosed early. It affects one's physical health, the way one feels, one's thought processes, and activities of daily living. Despite an early diagnosis, one must take care of one's physical as well as mental well-being. Individual experiences may differ. Everything depends on how one thinks about and deals with the disease. Some feel comfortable seeking support from their loved ones or other cancer survivors who give them faith and help them cope with the situation. The so-called counselors and others outside the family try to comfort patients with cancer with their holistic approaches. Having a positive attitude can help patients feel better about life and help them discover and find appropriate ways to relax, be more active, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

I am a medical practitioner, an administrator, a medico-social activist, and above all, a cancer sufferer since the last one year. I would like to share my experience about how I dealt with the grave situation that has been insanely tough on me and my family. I am a resident of West Bengal and have been a successful medical practitioner for the past 40 years. I have lived a healthy life since my childhood without any serious illnesses. However, for the past year and a half, I have been suffering from intermittent lower back pain which was managed by analgesics, physiotherapy, and bed rest. About a year ago, I had an episode of severe low back pain for which the orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons suggested a magnetic resonance imaging. The report revealed some possibly metastatic sclerotic bony lesions in the spine, which made me very concerned.

They then suggested a positron emission tomography-computed tomography scan which revealed a primary lesion in the lower lobe of the left lung with metastasis to the right lung, suprarenal area, lymph nodes, and vertebrae. To be frank, I had never had any attack of cough, chest pain, hemoptysis, fever, respiratory distress, or weight loss. Being a medical practitioner and a medico-social activist, I contacted my copractitioner experts who suggested that I get early treatment at a sophisticated tertiary care center. I was well acquainted with the treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), in Mumbai, India. I believe that it is the best center as far as cancer treatment is concerned. By the grace of the almighty and through some help from my well-wishers in Mumbai, I could contact one of the directors of TMH, Prof (Dr.) Shripad Banavali, who helped me a lot in my crisis by making all the arrangements for my treatment at TMH. Through his reference, I met Prof. (Dr) Kumar Prabhash, and his team who suggested a biopsy, which was performed in a day or two. My wife and daughter, both being a part of the medical fraternity, accompanied me and always gave me moral support, at the same time hiding their own sorrow and disappointment. This gave me a feeling of strength as I knew that we were all in this together.

After a week and a half, we received the biopsy report which suggested an adenocarcinoma of the lung. Molecular tests were also performed, which showed that the tumor was anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive, and this helped me receive oral tablets (targeted therapy). My treatment began under the guidance of Dr. Kumar Prabhash and his teammates, Dr. Sunil Chopade, Dr. Suresh Kumar, Dr. J P Agarwal, and Dr. Naveen Mummudi among others. I was overwhelmed with the behavior of Dr. Kumar Prabhash and his team. In spite of being a medical practitioner myself, I learned from them how to talk to patients and treat them both physically and mentally. Their smiling faces boosted my confidence a lot.

Most of my tests were done without losing much time. All the staff including the outpatient department attendants, especially Mr. Rahul, Mr. Ganesh, the paramedical and clerical staff, and the security personnel, were always alert and performed their duties with smiling faces. The only drawback I noticed was that being the most successful cancer care center in India, they handle a big rush of patients from all over the country.

Like all other patients, I had to experience the side effects of oral chemotherapy, which included hepatotoxicity, reduction in platelet count, and fatigue, which, I believe, are a part and parcel of the treatment. Having overcome these small difficulties, I feel better now and aspire for a new life ahead. A noteworthy aspect of TMH is that all the medicines are provided at concessional rates, which has benefited many patients with cancer.

A lot of patients, even though they are cancer-free after treatment, fear about the recurrence of the disease. Now, I look forward to a long and healthy life ahead, with all the hope and love from my caregivers, well-wishers, and family members.

To live a better life, I have gathered some positive guidelines in this grave situation:

  • Do not get disappointed. Take it easy. Move forward
  • It is a part and parcel of human life and must be tolerated with strength
  • Do not be emotional. Be steady to face all the harsh situations in life
  • Do not be depressed but be optimistic
  • Care of patients with cancer must continue even after remission of the disease.


Let us hope that the government (both Central and State) does its part by lending financial help to such charitable institutions that cater to patients with cancer. The government can also provide free guest houses near the institutions to help needy patients.


  Message to Patients With Cancer Top


Always smile to make your life worthwhile. Life is not about how long you live, but it is all about how you live.

My thousand salutes to Prof. (Dr) Kumar Prabhash and his entire team, Prof. (Dr) Shripad Banavali, Dr. Sunil Chopade, Prof. (Dr.) J. P Agarwal, and Dr. Naveen Mummudi.

About the author

I am a consultant in Family Medicine. I am a Medico-social activist.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.






 

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