D. Ramesh, a 29-year-old cheerful resident of Coimbatore, is enjoying his life with new-found zeal.

While being enthusiastic may be common among most 29 year olds, what makes it special in the case of Ramesh is that he is a cancer survivor.

Even when his friend broke down after the doctor informed Ramesh of his blood cancer, he retained his cheerful nature and asked his friend why he was crying as if he had been diagnosed with the disease.

Ramesh even had the good humour to compare his treatment for cancer to that of one accorded to kings with highly restricted access, specially prepared food and in a rare occurrence in contemporary Tamil Nadu, complete freedom from power cuts for over 10 months of treatment.

Now, he says, he is completely off medication and is able to lead a normal life.

Addressing a Cancer Survivors’ Day programme organised here on Saturday by the Coimbatore Cancer Foundation (CCF) along with Valavadi Narayanaswamy Cancer Centre (VNCC) and G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital (GKNM), he advises cancer patients to repose faith in their doctors, who are probably more concerned with the patients’ health than most people.

Every year, the day is observed to make the survivors tell the world that if detected early, staged accurately and treated properly, cancer cannot be the killer it has been made out to be. The gathering this time sent out an additional message that instead of fear taking over, it must be determination to tackle the disease.

N. Jayamani (59), a breast cancer survivor, says cancer must be looked at as a challenge and patients must overcome fear. Five years since her treatment, she is now leading a normal life without any major problems.

Director of the cancer centre T. Balaji says more than 75 per cent of cancer patients live beyond five years. Besides cancer research, the ongoing research in gene mapping will bring about the capability to detect how much was a person susceptible to cancer and other diseases, he adds.

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