At the ongoing two-day 7th edition of the Indian Breast Cancer Survivors Conference at International Centre of Goa, president of GOKARMA Oncology Association, Shekhar Salkar said that breast cancer cases are on a rise in Goa. Out of the 1000-1200 cancer cases reported every year in Goa around 200 are of breast cancer, he said.
The inauguration of the 7th edition of the Indian Breast Cancer Survivors Conference was held at the hands of executive director Dempo industries, Pallavi S Dempo in the presences of fashion designer, Wendell Rodricks; vice president, Womens Cancer Initiative, Tata Hospital Mumbai, Deveika Bhojwani; Head of Department of Oncology- Manipal Hospital Goa and president GOKARMA Oncology Association, Shekhar Salkar; breast surgeon, Mandar Nadkarni; oncologist and trustee of the Nag foundation, Shona Nag, and trustee of Muskan, Babita Agarwal.
Speaking at the inauguration, Bhojwani narrated her experience with the disease “When I was diagnosed with cancer I thought it was a gift which helped me focus on myself and my needs. When I used to go for treatment, I would meet other women who would come there for treatment with their family members. However, over a period of time I saw them coming in alone. Their family had left them and they had no one. Despite this, they continued coming for treatment as they were hopeful about their recovery. Observing their spirit I decided to help them,” she said.
Oncologist and trustee of the Nag foundation, Shona Nag revealed that initially she wasn’t in favour of having a conference as there were many such conferences and seminars happening around the state and she didn’t consider these useful. “But then I thought why don’t we have a conference where the survivors and patients can come and discuss their problems and take the lead and this is how the conference of cancer survivors came about,” she said, adding that she too had lost three of her close family members including her mother to cancer.
Advising the survivors that no battle is easy, yet one needs to keep the hope, fashion designer, Wendell Rodricks said that he too faced a lot of challenges in life and it was hope that has made him who he is today. “I never dreamt of becoming who I am today. I was very scared and timid when I was small. I used to stammer. At the same time I was a gay. I believed in myself. And I would like to tell the same thing to each survivor -don’t lose hope. Keep faith,” added Wendell.
Executive director of Dempo industries, Pallavi Dempo said that the cases of cancer are on a rise owing to our changing lifestyle, lack of awareness and no proper treatment. “Awareness, early detection and early treatment is a must and both government as well as non government bodies should come together to help people suffering from cancer,” added Pallavi.