Mission: To improve all aspects of cancer care, primarily in India – including prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life, for all. We strive to provide Care, Hope and Dignity to cancer patients. We also help patients with diseases of Blood, such as Thalassemia.
Core Activities: Over 800,000 new cancer patients are diagnosed every year in India. Over 500,000 patients die every year from cancer. Number of deaths from cancer is more than combined death rate of Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS. Majority of cancers are diagnosed late. Majority of patients are unable to undergo standard treatment (lack of awareness, lack of nearby treatment facilities, inability to pay for treatment). Most poor patients and many with resources as well, die with months of suffering beyond imagination. This “suffering” is also the main concern in patient’s mind when diagnosed with cancer. “suffering” is at several levels, not just physical pain. Blood diseases like Thalassemia, are rampant in India. About 10,000 children are born each year with thalassemia major. These children need blood transfusion every two to four weeks for rest of their life, with other medicines. They mostly die before age 40, and in poor families they die mostly before age 20. It is expensive to treat and is a silent suffering for whole family, not just the child. And, this disease is almost 100% preventable, as well as curable in few children.
center for Palliative Care It is a specialized Center giving supportive care of a hospital along with the love of a home.
We educate people about known causes for cancer, tests for early detection, noticing the early signs.
We lay our focus on those patients who have cancers in early stage, or those with high chance of cure.
our doctors and team participate in activities of other organizations to support this cause and provide guidance to them and lay public.
Camps for awareness of cancer, thalassemia and early detection of cancer are the cornerstone of our activity. Majority of Indians lack knowledge about what causes cancer, early signs of cancer, tests for early detection. Also many myths prevail about cancer and its treatment. We have been working on this issue for many years, primarily aimed at people in low socioeconomic groups.
At such camps, people are first educated about cancer, and briefly about thalassemia. This is done with use of multimedia and other means. By January 2014, more than 3000 people have attended these sessions. Message has reached many more by use of other media such as distribution of print material, television, internet, word of mouth by volunteers and friends etc.
After the awareness talk, at the same camp, we also screen women for early diagnosis of cancer of cervix and breast. These tests are offered completely free of cost. We have screened more than 2000 women by now. By combining awareness and early detection, on site, more enrolment is possible. We carry needed equipments to the camp site. Most of the camps are arranged in or near Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Some camps have been done in other cities or villages of Gujarat, such as Vadodara, Visnagar.
We also support treatment of some poor patients, primarily for early stages of cancer, where chance of cure is high, but patient is unable to afford treatment.
KARUNALAY – this initiative started in April 2012, a center for palliative care, with facility for outpatient care and 10 beds for inpatient care. All the care is provided completely FREE of cost, for patients in advance stages of cancer where any standard cancer treatment is no longer possible. Advance cancer patients have many needs – mainly relief from severe pain and other distressing symptoms, AND counselling for the psychological distress experience by them and family members. Both are provided here by trained team, and without any fees, as the goal is to ensure that patients do not suffer, regardless of who they are. Even when Cure is not possible, CARE is always possible. Palliative care is an established branch of medicine in developed countries, but very few such centers exist in India, especially in Gujarat. Our center is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and caters to people of whole state and nearby states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra as well. We plan to expand to home care service as well, as many poor people do not have resources to travel to our center, even to avail completely free treatment.