Whether in India or abroad the need for psychosocial support remains the same everywhere and the need of the hour is to acquire the right knowledge about cancer which will help us deal with it in a positive way.
Mumbai: When you are faced with a cancer diagnosis, you learn a lot of new words – and old words take on a whole new meaning. On April 18, 2019, Nehru Centre with a whooping crowd of 700 plus people witnessed a panel discussion organised by award-winning NGO Sanjeev Life beyond Cancer on the importance of psycho-social support in Cancer Care.
Cancer tries to take a lot. The life you had, the life you envisioned or attempted to plan. Your feeling of invincibility. Your trust in your body. Your understanding of age and life. It takes away the control you thought you had. The control over your goals, your opportunities, your future. It tries to trick you into believing you’re alone, no one understands, no one wants to help.
Hope, it is not just a word, a sound that rolls from the tongue. It’s a beacon, a bright light that is more powerful than anything else on this earth. Entire civilizations have been built upon hope, and millions of people have clung to it like it is the only lifeline they have.
And that is what highlights the importance and need for psycho-social support in cancer care. Sanjeevani Life Beyond Cancer Enriching lives of Cancer patients through innovative interventions.
The eminent panellists included the following people who voiced their opinions. Desiree Punwani, author and therapist, began by stating that a state of confusion is the first reaction of the patient towards the diagnosis. She has been touched by cancer very closely as her mother was diagnosed with cancer in the last stage and later, she too was diagnosed.
The point which she emphasized on was when the patient receives the news their whole world shatters, thoughts like how the path of treatment would be or if there is a path at all. Every aspect of a person’s life gets affected be it, family, relationships or career.
Viji Venkatesh, regional head of Max Foundation, who has researched immensely on cancer and even visited international institutions felt that whether in India or abroad the disease aroused a sense of being desolate. Whether in India or abroad the need for psychosocial support remains the same everywhere and the need of the hour is to acquire the right knowledge about cancer which will help us deal with it in a positive way. Together we can learn and share and help people cope with cancer.
“I agree that fear is the first thing that is associated with the disease. One needs to understand that cancer is not a death sentence and seeking emotional help always helps. It is not the end of the road but just another chapter which requires lifestyle changes.
The road to recovery does get rough but what is required is support from the family and friends to face the adversity. The society must take responsibility of creating a congenial atmosphere. What was most important was acceptance of the problem and having a positive attitude towards it”, said Vani Parmar, Onco Surgeon with Tata Memorial Centre.
Dr Anand Parihar, the Managing Trustee of Cope with Cancer, vouched for the fact that hardships are not faced alone by the patient but the whole family goes through it. The first and foremost thing to do is to accept the diagnosis only then would one be able to decide the journey ahead. The role of a caregiver becomes extremely important to retain a positive frame of mind.
Shri Vipin Anand, Managing Director of Life Insurance Corporation of India Limited, shared his personal experience with cancer in the family and resultant stress it caused. To him, three things were important for the person fighting cancer. The will to live and the will to fight, the presence of a somebody to support him. He also advised for prudent financial planning and adequate coverage to deal with the financial hardships caused by cancer.
Ruby Ahluwalia, Founder of Sanjeevani Life Beyond Cancer, moderated the discussion and talked about, ‘The Impact Evaluation Research Study on the Importance of Psycho-Social Support in Cancer Care’ conducted by Sanjeevani in collaboration with research wing of Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work.
The Research report was released on the occasion.
The research report – highlights key findings from the lens of the doctors and patients – who have unanimously voiced the need for psycho-social support as it is important for patients to receive adequate information, support and skills necessary to manage the illness as well as the disruption in work and family life.