Aster CMI Hospital salutes to the fighting spirit of Cancer and COVID survivors on the occasion of World Cancer Day
60-year-old Mr. Sunny and 65-year-old Mr. Jalla Venkatesh, two senior citizens overcame Hodgkins Lymphoma, Myeloma and COVID-19 diseases to take a step into a new life
Bangalore: The word cancer can make even the bravest of the hearts quake with fear. Adding to this fear is the scare of contracting corona which makes the entire situation for patients suffering from cancer uncertain and challenging. Amid such a scenario, the road to recovery for cancer patients can become an uphill task. In a bid to acknowledge the fighting spirit of Cancer and Corona survivors who have set an example by combating the double whammy of cancer and corona during the pandemic with their positive attitudes, Aster CMI Hospital organized an event on the occasion of World Cancer Day. The event not only celebrated the spirit of cancer survivors who emerged as true heroes by overcoming the debilitating disease but also aimed at showcasing the importance of maintaining a positive attitude for cancer patients while they cope up with the cancer diagnosis. During the event, Sri. R. Hitendra, IPS, Additional Director General of Police, Bangalore who was the Chief Guest for the event presented the cancer survivor with mementoes and also shared his father’s encounter with Cancer while highlighting the importance of early diagnosis for cancer patients.
Keeping in line with the theme of World Cancer Day this year, ‘I am and I will,’ each of the cancer survivors shared their heartwarming stories of struggle and bravery during the event to motivate other cancer patients to take heart and prepare for the battle ahead. Through their gritting stories, these patients highlighted the importance of collective action in combating cancer and how each individual’s commitment can help in controlling the incidences of cancer and can ensure a good quality of life for everyone.
Sharing his father’s encounter with the cancer disease and highlighting the need for early diagnosis, Sri. R. Hitendra, IPS, Additional Director General of Police, Bangalore, said: “I have witnessed the impact which cancer has on both the patients and their family member very closely. My father, who is 79 years old is a cancer survivor and after undergoing treatment at Aster CMI Hospital, he is currently doing well. His road to recovery made me realize the numerous challenges which cancer patients face and how certain times it is very difficult for patients to accept that they have cancer. I have witnessed how patients undergo the 5 stages of grief namely, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance and how by the time they reach the acceptance level it leads to a certain amount of delay in their treatment. Hence, learning from my own experience, on the occasion of World Cancer Day, I would like to highlight the need for early diagnosis for cancer patients and why they should not hesitate in consulting a doctor if they spot any early symptoms.”
While speaking at the event, Dr. Vijay Agarwal, Lead & Sr. Consultant – Medical Oncology & Haematology, Aster CMI Hospital said: “The entire COVID-19 pandemic presented a double whammy like situation in front of the cancer patients. During the pandemic, we came across several cases where the cancer patients had contracted a severe form of covid infection and their condition had become extremely critical. Amid such a scenario, deciding to continue their fight against cancer and not lose hope even during such tough times requires a lot of zeal and determination. I believe, that along with healthcare and frontline workers, cancer patients too have emerged as our true heroes and we at Aster CMI Hospital salute to their spirit for survival.”
“It is a proud moment for our hospital to honour these cancer and corona survivors who have overcome their illness with much strength and willpower. We are happy to have touched so many lives and are committed to offering the best clinical outcomes. On the occasion of World Cancer Day, we salute these brave hearts who have become an inspiration to the society”, said Dr. G Girish, Consultant – Surgical Oncology, Aster CMI Hospital.
The case of Mr. Sunny, a 60-year-old senior citizen who is undergoing treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma and also had COVID-19 infection during the initial phase of his chemotherapy is a perfect example of fighting the Big C with a positive attitude.
Prior to the pandemic, Mr. Sunny was undergoing treatment for Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma at Aster CMI Hospital and his condition had gone into remission with timely care and treatment. However, as the patient could not visit the hospital during the initial two months of the lockdown, he suffered a disease relapse and his lymphoma had progressed from his neck to his abdomen making his condition critical. While Mr. Sunny, was preparing to resume his fight with cancer, little did he know that there was another battle of COVID awaiting him. The patient had contracted a severe form of COVID-19 infection which had significantly affected his lungs. Mr. Sunny was going through a tough period and had to be admitted to the critical care unit at the hospital. He required constant oxygen support, antivirals and supportive medications and it took several weeks before he showed any clinical improvement. He was eventually discharged, however, he suffered post-COVID lung damage and had developed fibrosis due to which he had to undergo oxygen therapy for nearly two months. The complications had resulted in a delay in his chemotherapy, however, Mr. Sunny continued to remain brave and hopeful and is currently undergoing treatment for cancer at the hospital.
Thanking the doctors, Mr. Sunny said: “I am extremely thankful to the oncology team at Aster CMI Hospital who even during such challenging times did not lose hope and instilled me with confidence to continue my fight against cancer. Even while I was undergoing tremendous pain, it was their determination and dedication that kept my self-belief alive and ensured that I continue to maintain my inner strength and will-power.”
Another senior citizen, Mr. Jalla Venkatesh who is a 65-year-old businessman was suffering from multiple myeloma and had to be admitted to the ICU for nearly 10 days due to low oxygen levels. His cancer had gone into remission prior to the pandemic but due to the delay in the treatment, his condition started deteriorating. The patient had undergone a complete bone marrow transplant but on one of the routine follow-ups had tested positive for Covid. Due to the severity of his infection, the road to recovery for Mr. Venkatesh since then became difficult and he had to be shifted to an intensive care unit where he required multi-disciplinary team care. He was then put on extensive oxygen support, high-end antibiotics and supportive medications that helped him relieve his symptoms. After being admitted at the hospital for close to 2 and a half weeks, his condition was finally stable and he was discharged. Mr. Jalla Venkatesh has since then come a long way and currently continues to be on his maintenance treatment.
With COVID-19 currently taking the front seat during the initial months of the pandemic, preventive healthcare had been neglected the most. During the pandemic, the progress achieved in early detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, head and neck cancers, declined significantly and many patients suffering from these conditions faced numerous challenges in receiving access to quality care.
For instance, Mrs. Sapna (name changed), a 30-year-old cervical cancer patient who has been battling the condition for close to two years now had to visit numerous hospitals before undergoing cancer diagnosis at Aster CMI Hospital. The patient had a fistula, urinary and bowel complications which had to be addressed and later contracted a severe COVID-19 infection due to which her surgery had to be delayed. The patient underwent intense treatment for COVID-19 with superimposed bacterial infection and due to her condition, Mrs. Sapna had to separate herself from her children for several months. Being away from the family members during such trying times had mentally impacted Mrs. Sapna and she was unable to garner the courage to continue her treatment. However, with the support offered by the medical staff and the doctors at the hospital, the patient soon started the uphill task to recovery and after overcoming COVID-19, she has undergone 2 surgeries and continues to be on chemotherapy. Her spirit to never give up and zeal to get better is an inspiration for all cancer patients.