Saturday, November 9, 2013

Young Rashmi could brave the treatment of cancer, but can she brave the social stigma of cancer?

The greatest hurdles to “WIN OVER CANCER” is the myths, phobia surrounding cancer and this has built over years of ignorance.

The greatest challenge to win over cancer is to change the mindset of the people about cancer.

Travelling across villages and cities I have come across number of such challenges.

Once I visited a patient in East Delhi. Rashmi (name changed) was a young patient of breast cancer 33 years old with two kids aged 9 and 2 years. Husband was employed with a private firm in Noida.  Rashmi was an educated girl and now a house keeper. She noticed a lump in her breast and took the necessary treatment. She braved all the complications, side effects associated with the treatment. But she was failing to face the social stigma associated with cancer. Whenever she visited, I would try to keep her positive telling her that now she is a cancer winner, but I would notice something missing. One day, I decided to visit her.

The truth of her negativity was not cancer but the situation prevailing in her house. Rashmi was being treated at home as an untouchable – she was given a separate room at the corner of the house, the utensils, clothes everything was kept separate. The children and husband were not allowed to be with her, because they would be “infected” with cancer!!!!

It took me sometime to understand the whole situation, tried to explain the elders of the house that cancer is not infection and she should be allowed into the house. Nothing worked. And then I decided on a method, I would visit her now more frequently and would share food with her in her ‘room’. The people around were surprised and astonished. But the change happened.

Rashmi took training and is now employed as a teacher in a government school.

To make a cancer winner it is not just the treatment but we have to take care of the social stigma associated. 

Have you come across such challenges associated with cancer, I would request you to share the same. We can bring the change with awareness.

Let us join to “WIN OVER CANCER”

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