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Standing up to the Big C

Facilities to help cancer patients are regrettably inadequate in the country. The more effective initiatives such as CPAA need to be replicated across the land.

Established in 1969, the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) in Mumbai is an NGO working towards the total management of cancer. CPAA has supported the treatment and overall needs of more than 40,000 cancer patients in India and neighbouring countries.

CPAA\'s Patient Care Department is located at the Smt Panadevi Dalmia Cancer Management Centre in Mumbai. At any given time, it provides total management care to an average of 1,000 patients.

Cancer treatment can be a huge drain on family finances, even for the relatively well-off. CPAA tries to disburse aid to as many patients as possible. It also finds sponsors, helps patients network with aid-giving! organisations and organises the purchase of medicines at wholesale rates through a tie-up with chemists and pharmaceutical companies.

For patients whose prognosis is good, CPAA has an Adopt-a-Cancer-Patient scheme, wherein a sponsor donates Rs 40,000 annually for the treatment of the adopted patient. All other patients are placed in the Aid-a-Cancer-Patient category. Based on the prognosis and the amount and kind of medicines required, a monthly budget is determined.

Accommodation and transportation in Mumbai for out-station patients in city hospitals is also attended to.

CPAA runs a counselling cell at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. It ensures that patients and their families fully understand what is going to happen, so that they do not abandon treatment midway due to miscommunication.

CPAA maintains a databank of willing donors, along with their blood ! groups. In emergencies, its employees have donated blood themselves. The CPAA also arranges for five to six cases of bone marrow transplants each year.

Cancer surgery often requires the removal of the affected body part, which must later be replaced. These replacements can be prohibitively expensive. CPAA helps cancer patients obtain a number of prostheses. It has also promoted the designing and manufacture of low-cost, high-quality breast prosthesis.

The CPAA’s Cancer Awareness lectures arose out of the realisation that most of the fear associated with cancer is due to a lack of information, and that people need to be told cancer is preventable, detectable at an early stage, and curable if treated promptly.

Statistics show that the most common cancers in India -- head and neck cancers, cervical cancer and breast cancer -- are the very cancers that can be easily detected at an early s! tage.

Contact: Cancer Patient’s Aid Association
5, Malhotra House
Opposite GPO, Mumbai 400 001
Maharashtra, India
Tel: 91-22-269 8964 / 269 3790