My maid was visibly upset one morning as she came in to work. Her aunt had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The aunt was only 32 years of age with three young children. She had a hopeless look about her as she told me about the list of treatments that were necessary to save her. “We know that even if her husband sold their house and we all pooled in, even then we will not be able to pay for all the hospital bills and medicines and Doctors, Didi.”
True. Cancer and its treatment can be a long and expensive journey that depletes resources of even economically stable folk with insurance. I frantically turned to a little online research to see whether there were NGOs helping cancer patients India. This is what I found online: Every year, 11,20,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in India. Only half this number survives, and only 30% of cancer patients are able to afford necessary treatment.
This led to a survey of NGOs that help get cancer treatment at reduced costs for those who cannot afford it. Listed here are five such NGOs that act as cancer patients aid association in India – their services and description are excerpts from their own website content for accuracy. However, do follow it up with your own research about the institutes as well:
Cancer Patients Aid Association in India
1. Cancer Cure Fund is an initiative of the Indian Cancer Society that financially assists underprivileged cancer patients in initiating and completing their treatment. Donations received from investors in the ‘HDFC Debt Fund for Cancer Cure’ constitutes the ICS Cancer Cure Fund which is used to fund the cancer treatment of needy patients. ICS supports patients with annual family income of less than Rs. 1,00,000/-.
2. Karunashraya is the only Hospice available to advanced stage cancer patients in Bangalore. It is the first hospice of its type in India that offers patients flexibility in alternating between in-patient care and home care. Their specialised hospice services (both In-patient as well as Home care) are free of charge.
3. CanSupport in New Delhi provides palliative home care as well as out-patient care. Its pain management and palliative care clinics provide essential supportive care and ensure better outcomes for patients. Its services include pain and symptom management, especially managing side effects of curative therapies, and keeping the patient comfortable and motivated during the therapy.
4. Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) is a registered charitable non-governmental organisation (NGO) working towards the Total Management of Cancer as a disease. This includes: Clearing the bottlenecks in making a connection with the right specialist/oncologist, co-ordinating appointments with treatment centres, finding boarding facilities for patients from out of Mumbai, advice on hygiene and diet, stepping in with financial aid when necessary, providing nutritional supplements like Complan, helping with linen, clothing and food grains as and when it is called for – CPAA rises to every need of the patient.
5. HelpAge India is a leading charity in India working with and for disadvantaged elderly for nearly 4 decades now. HelpAge India provides palliative care to end-stage cancer patients in partnership with a number of credible and competent cancer hospitals and organisations. These partners also conduct cancer awareness and cancer detection camps. Thus, from cancer detection and treatment, they have been able to deliver quality cancer care for elders in need of such intervention, including home visits post cancer treatment along with counselling for the patient and family. Over 99,000 treatments have been supported since 1998.
Apart from these, here is a list of some Hospitals and Government Schemes that provide free cancer care to deserving segments as well.
Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and Kolkata
Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore
Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
Cancer Care Foundation of India, Mumbai
Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY): RGJAY, which was later renamed to to Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY), has been implemented throughout the state of Maharashtra in a phased manner. The insurance policy/coverage under the MJPJAY can be availed by eligible beneficiary families residing in all the 36 districts of Maharashtra.
Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN): Poor patients living below the poverty line who are suffering from life-threatening diseases like cancer can obtain the fund for treatment at different hospitals in all over the country. A sum of one lakh is given to each deserving case.Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) has also been set up under RAN to provide financial assistance to the poor patients who have cancer. It is applicable for treatment in 27 regional cancer centers in the country.
These organisations are doing wonderful work in providing treatment and modern facilities to those who are not able to afford it. The benefit and hope to patients and their families is immense, although there are miles to go before we sleep.