They all dare cancer

HYDERABAD, AUG.14. Krishnan, a frail old man, walks haltingly with the help of a stick. His other hand clutches his son for support. "I am not going to be killed by anybody, more so, cancer. I do not know how long I am going to live but certainly I am not going to die of cancer," he says, in a booming tone.

Twelve-year-old Sachin too exudes confidence and courage. "I go to school regularly and play like any other classmate. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with the disease. But after treatment I am doing well," he says cheerfully, as the gathering including top doctors, cancer patients and their loved ones cheer him.

Success stories

Sravanthi and Neeraja, in their early 30s, are also mothers to tiny tots. They refused to succumb to fear when they were diagnosed with cancer.

" It was scarier than death itself. But the doctors here gave me confidence," says Sravanthi. "I would tell the patients not to give up. If you are afraid, the disease can eat you up," adds Neeraja.

Four different people hailing from varied backgrounds, combating cancer and leading normal lives -- they were among the many survivors who assembled at the Apollo Hospitals in Jubilee Hills to talk about their experiences, to pep up other patients, to thank their doctors and most importantly, to become members of the Freedom from Cancer Club that started on Saturday.

`Cure possible'

"With early diagnosis followed by surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, chances of cure are bright. Patients, however, need family and social support. Even in extreme cases, we can control the disease and ensure that the patient can lead a quality life for a long time," explained noted cancer specialist and director of Asian Institute of Oncology and Jaslok Hospital, S. H. Advani, after formally launching the club.

"Through this club we want to bring together cancer survivors and those fighting the disease. We will also open a website," says Vijay Anand Reddy, Director, Cancer Hospital.

Reliving her experience, Sravanthi, said, "The happiness I experience should become universal. I wish something is done to make the treatment more affordable," she points out.

Taking the cue, the Apollo Hospitals Director, Sangita Reddy, urged Governments to facilitate medical insurance for every citizen, which "only can provide best possible treatment at affordable cost".

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