Being cared for by a cancer victor can mean a world of difference for a cancer patient dealing with the shock of being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Enriching their lives with emotional, spiritual and para-medical support is thus imperative to bring cancer patients on a swift path to recovery. This is exactly what our CanSahayogi initiative aims to do through the Sanjeevani Counselling and Rehabilitation Centres (SCRCs).
Before we understand more about the CanSahyogi initiative, here are a couple of facts worth considering:
- Cancer is the 2nd biggest cause of death in India. Out of the 12 lakh new cases every year, there are five lakh deaths in India alone, many of which are caused by the fear of cancer being amplified by the lack of psycho-social support.
- On the other hand, a study commissioned by Sanjeevani to 'College of Social Work Nirmala Niketan', highlighted that almost all of the researched patients admitted the need for emotional and psychological support through counselling to deal with the strenuous circumstances during the course of their illness and 77% of the 250 participants opined that need for psychological support is their primary need during this journey. The rising number of cancer patients, when compared to the limited number of doctors, shows a steady decrease in the amount of time that a doctor can devote to interacting with each patient. In such cases, hand holding the patient through their concerns requires professional psycho-social guidance.
Keeping these two observations in mind, we naturally came to the conclusion that by reaching out to cancer patients through in-hospital interventions and encouraging them to complete their treatment helps them build the courage and positive outlook required to successfully beat their illness and be prepared for a - life beyond cancer. Here's our founder Ruby Ahluwalia speaking about the importance of psycho-social support in cancer-care.
These in-hospital interventions involve providing Sanjeevani's Cancer Buddies in Regional Cancer Centres across India. Trained and certified caregivers, most of our Cancer Buddies are either cancer victors or relatives of cancer victors themselves. Having witnessed the illness first-hand, they handhold the patients through their course of treatment through counselling.
Our professionals further help the patients in fulfilling their emotional and logistical needs during and after the treatment as well, thus ensuring an all-round holistic cancer-care approach. These professional caregivers work towards initiating a friendly rapport with the patients which then allows them to establish an empathetic approach in communication. With this approach, they gradually earn the trust of the patients as well as the patients' families. A feeling of mutual understanding empowers our onco-caregivers to foresee the patient’s needs and reaffirm their trust in the recovery process.
Which aspects of holistic care do Sanjeevani's caregivers provide?
Providing emotional, psychological and logistical support to patients and their relatives
Hand-holding patients through the course of their treatment.
Counselling patients, who have limited family support, through-out the treatment and thereafter.
Encouraging patients to adhere to medical advice during as well as post-treatment care.
Facilitating engaging and meaningful interactions between patients and doctors
Involving the patient in activities such as psychotherapy, dance movement therapy, yoga etc. that are tailored to fit their unique needs and are facilitated by experts in those respective fields.
What started in 2012 with just one centre in Mumbai, the CanSahayogi project now helps patients across 16 centres spread across 9 states and 1 UT in India.
Check out the highlights from the convocation of our first batch of care-givers here.
The list of areas where CanSahyogi is currently active in is as follows:
- Jaipur - Sawai Man Singh Hospital
- Bikaner - Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment & Research Institute
- Ahmedabad - Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute
- Surat - Shri Devarajbhai Bavabhai Tejani Cancer Institute
- Kolkata - Chittranjan National Cancer Institute
- Bangalore - Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology
- Guwahati - Bhubaneshwar Borooah Cancer Institute
- Goa - Goa Medical College
- Hyderabad - Mehdi Nawaz Jung Institute of Oncology
- Visakhapatnam - Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital & Research Centre
In our mission to raise the bar for cancer care in India, we plan to establish our network spanning across all the 28 states of India in the coming four years. Watch Dr. Rajiv Sarin, former director of ACTREC, Mumbai, speaking about the importance of creating a pool of professional caregivers to ultimately increase the standards for onco-care in our country.
A mark of our constant desire to help as many patients as we can, it gives us great pleasure to share that as of today, the CanSahayogi program has managed to enrich the lives of over 2,50,000 patients since its inception.