Actor shares dais with two top doctors who survived cancer

I think my love for life has increased one hundred times more because this life was almost taken away from me and given back to me, said leading cine actor Mamta Mohandas, looking back to her experience of winning the battle against cancer.

Mamta was narrating her experience in pulling through cancer with two medical doctors of long years’ experience of treating cancer and both cancer survivors themselves—Dr N Sreedevi Amma and Dr P Kusuma Kumari, former additional director and deputy director respectively of Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) here.

They came down to share their experience and perspectives of cancer on Friday at a special session on the concluding day of the 39th annual conference of Indian Association for Cancer Research (IACR), hosted by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) in the Kerala capital.

All of them had a message for the society. With tremendous advancements in treatment, cancer is no longer an unconquerable monster as it used to be taken in the past.   

Mamta, who was diagnosed with cancer when she was in her 20s when she was  in the midst of a highly promising career in cinema 11 years back,  said she often used to think  about the people who had lost their lives before all the new treatment methods that proved cancer completely curable were developed.

“I think about the people who have lost their lives fighting cancer. Cancer is not something that we fight. Any form of cancer is curable. Also, I thank people who have come forward to show their bravery”, Mamta, who has essayed many memorable roles in films, said.

She said she feels that her life is now more meaningful and better. “Each time I got it back it was even better. It is a bigger and better life. My love for life is just oozing,” she said.

Summing up her outlook towards life on a positive note Mamta said “We don’t have to wait for something like cancer to happen to start enjoying life. Do it now. Do it today”

One of the senior most pathologists in Kerala, Dr Sreedevi Amma said she is a ‘living example’ to prove that cancer is completely curable, if it is detected early and proper treatment is provided.

Uterine cervical cancer and breast cancer are two most prevalent types in India, both of which are curable. However, in many cases early symptoms are neglected and it would be in advanced stage that the patient reaches doctor. “If I neglected (early symptoms) and waited, I would not have been here with you today,” Dr Sreedevi Amma said.

Dr Kusumakumari, a leading paediatric oncologist, noted that the things have improved a lot when it comes to treating children with cancer from those days when resources and technology were limited in a premier cancer institution like RCC.

She, however, said in paediatric oncology challenges will keep coming up. “The money required to treat children with cancer are very high. But we can not ignore the reality that children do develop cancer,” she said.

Going down the memory lane, she said the pressure of the work was so hard on those days and at a point of time she was on verge of leaving the job.

The session was moderated by Prof Maqsood Siddiqi. Prof M Radhakrishna Pillai, Director RGCB, said listening to the experiences of people who had gone through cancer and fought and comeback is also a facet of cancer treatment.

By Manoj

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