These three NGOs are striving to raise awareness about breast cancer and make treatment accessible
Breast cancer is considered to be one of the most common cancers among women in India. According to data published by Globocan in 2018, more than 1.6 lakh new cases and around 87,000 deaths were registered in the country during the year.
Medical experts claim that the cancer is generally diagnosed in women when they reach their 30 and tends to spike between 50 and 64 years. Overall, one in 28 women are likely to develop the ailment during their lifetime.
Various symptoms of breast cancer include a painless lump in the breast, a sudden change in shape and size of the breast, blood discharge from the nipple, and nipple retraction. While early diagnosis and self-breast examination can increase the chances of successful treatment and cure, lack of awareness and accessibility to healthcare facilities stands as a stumbling block.
Every year, October is commemorated as the Breast Cancer Awareness month around the world in order to promote know-how and emphasise on the need for early detection, treatment and palliative care.
Several NGOs across India are working to spread the word and make treatment more accessible to the economically backward and marginalised sections of society. SocialStory lists a few of their efforts.
The Pink Initiative
The Pink Initiative is a Mumbai-based NGO, that has been involved in spreading awareness about breast cancer. Ujwala Raje, founded the organization after losing her mother to the disease and then facing it herself. She established the Pink Initiative along with her doctor Sumeet Shah in 2014.
The initiative targets girls and women between the ages of 15 and 50 in and around Mumbai. From organizing workshops to educate them about the early detection of breast cancer to organising online support forums for patients, the NGO’s primary aim is to educate people about the seriousness of early detection and diagnosis.
In addition to this, the Pink Initiative also puts up posters about breast cancer across some of the prime localities in the city such as educational institutions, commercial complexes and malls.
Samrohana Cancer Foundation
Samrohana is an organisation that not only provides counselling and rehabilitation to people diagnosed with breast cancer, but also educates them through the institution of advocacy groups as well as webinars.
Established by Dr Sandeep Nayak, the organisation helps people right from the time they are detected with the disease until they are completely cured.
In order to mark World Breast Cancer awareness month, Samrohana Cancer Foundation in collaboration with the startup Oncostem, is all set to host a virtual event, ‘Don’t Shy Away’ on October 18, 2020. The objective is to increase awareness about self-breast examination and early detection.
Swastava Cancer Care
Swastava Cancer Care was set up in 2017 after a group of working professionals who were directly or indirectly affected by cancer decided to give back to the ones suffering from the diseases.
RP Singh, Venkateswarlu, K Ramachandra Murthy and Chaturvedi Vasudev. among many others organise awareness campaigns about breast cancer as well as its risks across communities, schools, colleges and other institutions in India.
To complement these endeavors, Swastava also conducts screening camps in rural areas by partnering with hospitals and government departments to ensure early detection of oral, breast and cervical cancers. In case they notice even a slight abnormality, they are referred to doctors or hospitals for further tests.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan