Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The word finally seems to be out……

Ever since I became a part of FACC, it has become a daily habit to scan the newspapers and the internet to find out if there has been anything written or discussed about cervical cancer. The last few weeks has seen a steady flow of articles/tips/stories on cervical cancer. It looks like the word is finally out on the big C. Just a few quotes from some of these articles:
“Even though the doctor had told me it was completely curable, the word cancer has some stigma attached to it”- Sunaina Roshan, cervical cancer survivor to India Today Woman.
“In India alone, eight women die every hour due to cervical cancer. Around 27 per cent of female cancer patients suffer from cervical cancer”- Dr. Leela Bhagavan to the Deccan Chronicle.
“While in recent years, India has made tremendous economic progress, there is one area where it still lags woefully behind. I refer here to the incidence of cancer of the uterine-cervix or cervical cancer. In fact, we have the dubious distinction of outstripping any other country when it comes to the number of cases of this type of cancer (132,000 new cases are reported every year and around 74,000 women die annually of it)” - Harmala Gupta, Founder CanSupport, in The Hindustan Times.
“Many a time, women are shy or afraid to come forward even they have problems related to HPV. Further, lack of awareness of the disease is another problem to prevent the disease in early stage, though it is one of the most common illnesses faced by the women in India. The NGOs and government should work on spreading awareness about tests like Pap Screening”- Dr. Gagan Saini, Oncologist, to
“Survival after cervical cancer caught in its earliest stage is 92 per cent. Regular screening can help ensure it is caught at an early and treatable stage”- A Times Wellness Column article.
“Simple test could cut cancer deaths in poor nations”-Reuters
”Mandy Moore joins fight against cancer”
To keep the word on cervical cancer spreading, I urge every woman out there to spend a mere 10 minutes visiting their gynaecologist and getting a pap test done and recommend it to your family and friends as never know who might be next!

Contributed by: Mayurakshi Barua, New Delhi

Monday, February 8, 2010

Burst the “Happy Bubble”

The root cause of many a serious disease is primarily our mindset. The statement sure does seem vague but is actually true. In our minds we all have this “happy bubble” which causes us to acknowledge the fact that diseases do exist however somehow renders ourselves as unsusceptible to them. Many women are aware of diseases such as cervical cancer but most of them share the common belief that they somehow cannot contract it. This state of mind is dangerous as over powering the mind becomes the single largest obstacle towards detection of a disease as deadly as cervical cancer, which is curable only if detected in the early stages.

Such a mindset is a common problem that plagues most Indian women and is probably the reason that India accounts for the largest number of cases of cervical cancer in the world. Globally, 5,00,000 women are detected with cervical cancer every year of which1,32,082 are Indian women. To add to this, 74,118 Indian women die of cervical cancer annually, that is 8 women every waking hour. The statistics are appalling and the need of the hour is to take concrete steps to ensure that we reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in our country.

It is imperative for women to undergo regular screening programs. Not only does this ensure that cervical cancer is detected at a stage where it is well within control, but also brings to light a lot of other diseases such as STDs which could otherwise go neglected.

Women need to be aware and conscious so as to visit their gynaecologists and take regular pap smears. It is time to let go of our inhibitions and come out of the “happy bubble” so as to ensure that we lead a healthy life, a life free from cervical cancer.

Contributed by: Akshay Joshi, New Delhi

Friday, February 5, 2010

Of Fairytales & Reality Bites

We have all grown up with fairy tales, with happy endings, dreamily ensconced in our own little worlds of make believe. Yet real life’s never far away to deal a cruel blow to our dreams.

Yet the dreams appear to have triumphed over reality—a reality of people dying of deadly ailments like cancer and heart disease—as we continue to live in self denial, continuing to ignore our health and our lives on life’s pecking order of priorities. Why oh why?

Isn’t it time we woke up, stopped dreaming and took some action? Isn’t it time that we prioritized our health. It’s our life after all!!

In a world dominated by science and technology, where everything is possible, the only thing required is the will to fight, to step out of our dreams a while.

That’s what I learnt when I saw someone I knew fighting her own battle against cancer. But that’s the operative word here: fighting. You’ve got to fight it; you’ve got to have the will to fight!

It’s a painful journey; from losing hair to strong medication making life itself a living hell, when close friends can sympathize and at times even treat you like a pariah, to be shunned and treated like an outcast, the agony can be endless. Yet, you’ve got to resist, fight it all the way. That is the only way.

Cancer, significantly cervical cancer, today is spreading its tentacles far and wide, unchecked, insidious, and uncontrollable.

It’s a genuine call to all those who take their life callously, have multiple sexual partners and lead a generally unhygienic personal life. You’ve got to change because it can prove fatal, for your life.

Get yourself tested from time to time; a mere 10 minutes will make a big difference. If detected early cancer can be cured. Life as they say is not about the amount of breaths taken, but more about the moments which take your breath away.

It’s time to live your life well for those very special moments. It’s time to break the silence and spread the word – FIGHT AGAINST CERVICAL CANCER. Get going!

Contributed by: Vandita Sheoran, New Delhi