General

Its official – am now a blogger for the cause

As a four year old growing up, C-the third consonant in alphabet meant a furry white animal that we had as a pet. Fast forward 20 years, I am enrolled in a residency programme at the prestigious Post Graduate Institute that bears the prefix of our honorable first Prime Minister of India. Here I learn C- has another connotation – Cancer. I struggle hard in my mind and at times, a sense of helplessness engulfs me as I see advanced stages of this disease with little hope of a complete recovery or cure for the patients attending our outpatients department. The year is 1985 when a few chemotherapeutic agents are available, we do not have a CT – scan, mammography is  emerging as a diagnostic tool, MRI and PET – CT have yet to arrive and we have Cobalt therapy machines in our institute to offer treatment to our cancer patients.

After nearly three decades we are able to pick up cancers as small as 3-4 mm, offer curative and not mutilating surgeries, have a plethora of aids to support the patients through their journey to overcome their disease, multi- leaf collimators and modulated beams have replaced handmade lead blocks to make radiation therapy safer, less torturous and targeted therapies are here.

However, inspite of the advances in diagnostics and therapeutics we still find many patients reaching us in late stages. So what should change? Maybe our approach or maybe the public perception at large towards cancer! Maybe, we need our champions who have won the fight against C- to stand up and speak out, that we can work together to diagnose it early, treat it with minimum side effects and not have the fear of being stigmatized !

This blog is to educate, help and support all those who may join me on my journey as a first time blogger on cancers. Before I proceed, I would like to thank those who inspired me to get going — my friends, the people who were strangers when they came to us with a diagnosis of C-, those who chose to have the treatments, benefited and became friends forever.

While this journey of sharing and learning begins, I would like to invite questions and encouraging comments from our readers, who will strengthen the cause as we move ahead together.  Happy Readings