Pre-Pandemic, when the word ‘coronavirus’ was unheard of, the ‘Big C’ was one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide, accounting for roughly 10 million deaths in 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the post-Covid-19 era, cancer continues to be a dreaded disease, even though not everyone who is afflicted faces certain death. With advancements in the field of medicine, thousands of patients have successfully battled the ailment, and live normal lives.
Several events are held globally to mark World Cancer Day on February 4. One such event was organised by Manipal Hospital Goa, Dona Paula, in association with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Goa State Branch.
The event aimed to raise awareness about cancer and to encourage a dialogue on the prevention and detection of cancer and to reduce the ‘care gap’.
At the event, the hospital expressed solidarity with those fighting the dreaded disease, and underscored Manipal Hospital's dedication to reducing the ‘care gap’ in the state.
In a symbolic gesture, Manipal Hospital Goa distributed gifts to patients from the day care unit who were undergoing treatment.
According to data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the number of cancer cases is expected to rise from 14.61 lakh in 2022 to 15.7 lakh in 2025. In view of this statistic, Manipal Hospital carried out this initiative to empower the fight against cancer.
Cancer survivors spoke about the journey of the cancer warriors to spread the message and create hope for those suffering from cancer.
At the event, President of IMA Goa State Branch for 2024, Dr Sandesh Chodankar, said, “We stand at the forefront of a united effort to combat cancer, and IMA Goa State Branch Supports the resolution to fight this dreaded disease, and reduce the gap in care of cancer patients.”
He added that the program emphasised the importance of unity in the fight against cancer, to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment.
“On this World Cancer Day, together, we stand resolute in reducing the burden of this formidable adversary, raising awareness, and being in solidarity with those bravely facing the fight,” he said.
Those present on the occasion included Hospital Director and Unit Head, Surendra Prasad; Chief of the Oncology Department and Senior Consultant Onco Surgeon, Dr Shekhar Salkar; Consultant Medical Oncology, Dr Jacob George; Consultant Radiation Oncology, Dr Gunjan Baijal; Consultant-Nuclear Medicine, PET-CT and Nuclear Theranostics, Dr Pankaj Mhatre.
Dr Shekhar Salkar delivered a talk on the topic ‘Breast cancer, an overview.’
Hospital Director & Unit Head, Manipal Hospitals Goa, Surendra Prasad, said, “I am immensely proud to be associated with an institution that is not just dedicated to providing exemplary healthcare, but is also making a real impact.”
“Our collaboration with the IMA Goa State Branch for World Cancer Day is a testament of our commitment to the well-being of our community. Through this event, we aim to reduce the impact of cancer, raise crucial awareness, and express our support to those battling cancer," he added.
Chief of the Oncology Dept and Senior Consultant Onco Surgeon at Manipal Hospitals Goa, Dr Shekhar Salkar said, “Witnessing the resilience of cancer survivors is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. This year, as we share the gifts with chemotherapy patients, let it symbolize not just sustenance for the body, but also a reminder that they are not alone in their journey.”
Together, as healthcare providers and a community, let us continue to bring healing, hope and a brighter future to all those affected by cancer, he added.
Dr Salkar also mentioned that Manipal Hospitals Goa is the only hospital in Goa providing comprehensive cancer treatment under one roof.
The event kicked off with a cake-cutting ceremony by cancer patients in the Radiation Department. In addition to that, the organizing team, along with Dr Sandesh Chodankar, distributed gifts to the patients from the day care unit, who were undergoing chemotherapy.
The hospital also organised a Cancer Awareness Program, as well as felicitation of cancer survivors, who in turn, shared their experiences with the audience.