Mumbai: Women’s Cancer Initiative - Tata Memorial Hospital, (WCI-TMH) have joined hands with the Nag Foundation, Pune to organize a Conference for Breast cancer survivors in the city. The conference was inaugurated at the hands of Celebrity / Model and Actor Lisa Ray in the midst of the Guest of Honour Dr. Anil D’cruz, Director, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and Mrs. Deveika Bhojwani, Vice President – Women’s Cancer Initiative and Dr. Shona Nag,Trustee, Nag Foundation.
Advances in medical care are helping more women get through a cancer diagnosis successfully. In fact, there are almost one million breast cancer survivors in India today. The diagnosis and treatment of cancer however can cause problems, both physical and emotional, for survivors and those who care for them. This two days conference, touched upon various aspects of breast cancer, to help women cope with the concerns that can arise during and after cancer treatment.
Speaking on the occasion Deveika Bhojwani, Vice President, WCI said, “This first ever breast cancer survivors’ conference in Mumbai, aims at offering women with practical information to help them cope with the concerns that can arise during and after breast cancer treatment. It will also attempt to empower these women to spread correct information regarding breast cancer among the public in general.” “We do believe, that the women of India are its strength and its silent force, and that through their sheer grit and determination, are contributing to the growth of this great nation. We must do whatever we can to ensure their well being,” said Devieka Bhojwani
Lisa Ray of course we all know as a celebrity and also a cancer survivor, inaugurated the conference and said, "Deveika has been an inspiration as she has tirelessly worked to improve Breast Cancer awareness and provide solidarity and support in India. There are so many aspects to healing from cancer, beyond the body- emotional and psychological - and it is equally important to address these needs.”
She further added, “Only a cancer patient can fully understand what another survivor is experiencing and that's why it's important to provide a forum for not only Breast Cancer patients but all cancer patients to express themselves. I'm so happy and honoured to support this initiative. As you know, I'm living with a condition called Multiple Myeloma which technically isn't curable and I've had to make many adjustments in order to continue to thrive and lead a healthy, active life. I know I will gain insights and inspiration from this conference as well."
“This is the 4th consecutive year of the Indian Breast Cancer Survivors Conference - and we are very happy that the response and participation from Survivors has been overwhelming. It is a great opportunity for survivors from various cities and backgrounds to come together and share their post treatment issues and bond together as a group. We hope that the conference will be driven entirely by the survivors a few years from now. This has also been a great collaboratory effort between WCI and the Nag Foundation along with oncologists from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Goa, Ahmednagar and Aurangabad” adds Trustee of Nag Foundation, MD. Sr. Oncologist Shona Nag.
While sharing the content of this two days program Dr. Shona Nag said that the first day’s program included educational sessions for survivors with recent updates on the surgical, medical and radiation therapy aspects of breast cancer treatment by eminent oncologists from Mumbai, Pune and Nashik.
The highlight of the educational program was a panel discussion which had survivors, oncologists, gynecologists, HR professionals and Social Workers on the panel. It aimed to answer common concerns amongst women after treatment, on a wide range of topics, from breast reconstruction, financial support for treatment, to integrating back into the workforce post treatment.
The later sessions emphasized on important issues like long term side-effects of treatment, patient advocacy programs as well as a talk on spirituality and cancer.
The second day also had several work-shops conducted by experts. Each workshop addressed important concerns like lifestyle, fitness and diet after breast cancer treatment, lymphoedema (arm swelling post treatment) management and even the role of yoga and Reiki in the recovery after cancer treatment.
Once the breast cancer treatment is over the patient’s lifestyle is often ignored and simple changes can reduce the risk of recurrence. It is important for women to be aware of this. Therefore post treatment issues are equally important and troublesome and interfere with the quality of living.
The Conference also had a special session for Caregivers who play a vital role in the recovery of a Cancer Survivor. This two days conference addressed some of these concerns and integrated the breast cancer patient back into society, helping them to lead normal productive lives. Over 350 breast cancer survivors from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Goa & Bangalore and other parts of India attended the conference.
Apart from the closed door two days conference, they also took this opportunity to create awareness about breast cancer, cure, care and rehabilitation through some special events.