“It's been over a decade since I have undergone throat cancer surgery. Yet, people make me feel that I am still a patient. They focus on my throat and the way I speak and it dampens my spirit,” laments M. Rambrahmam, a throat cancer survivor.
“It's not just me, most cancer patients are subjected to such uneasy moments. Apart from medication and treatment, cancer survivors need psychological support,” he says.
That was when the Laryngectomee Society came to his help. The society was set up by cancer survivors with the help of Apollo Hospital doctors in 1999. There are over 200 members in the society now and every second Saturday they meet in the hospital to share their views, difficulties and other issues faced by the patients in their daily lives, particularly those diagnosed with cancer recently.
There are people from different regions and sections in this society. Besides voice restoration through special voice prosthesis, members help each other in physical and social rehabilitation and it helps a lot, says Mr. Rambrahmam, secretary of the society.
One such effort was the Society's anniversary celebrations that were organised on Saturday.
As part of the celebrations, it conducted races like the lemon and spoon race, walking race and even smelling contests at the hospital in Jubilee Hills. When the prizes were announced and distributed, they cheered and congratulated each other.
“Events such as these boost their confidence,” says Umanath Nayak, Consultant Head and Neck Oncologic Surgeon, Apollo Cancer Hospital, while congratulating Zaheeruddin and T.P. George, the winners of the races.
Every year, about 1,000 people are diagnosed with throat cancer in the twin cities. All those, who undergo surgery for removal of their larynx (voice box) as treatment for throat cancer, cannot smell, swallow or walk like others, he explains.
City Police Commissioner A.K. Khan was present to cheer the participants.