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Fight cancer stigma: a lesson provided by Thakurpukur cancer hospital

The counsellors of the awareness programme urged patients to protest if they felt isolated

By Jhinuk Mazumdar in Calcutta
  • Published 22.02.20, 2:48 AM
  • Updated 22.02.20, 2:48 AM
  • a min read
  •  
The Thakurpukur hospital has been conducting outreach programmes in schools, colleges and setting up health camps to tell people that cancer is not contagious Representational image from Shutterstock

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The cancer hospital in Thakurpukur hosted an awareness programme on Friday, where patients and their families were told not to isolate cancer patients.

Mothers often express their helplessness to counsellors and oncologists at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute about children being ostracised at home, in school or in the neighbourhood.

“Cancer awareness is low in rural areas and often elderly members of the family do not allow cancer patients to interact with others. We have seen instances where medical practitioners in villages are apprehensive of attending to a cancer patient if they have diarrhoea or fever because they feel they are not adequately equipped. It is not possible for them to come to the hospital always and so we try to include a list of medicines for common ailments in the discharge certificate,” said Arnab Gupta, director of Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute.

The counsellors urged patients to protest if they felt isolated. “You have to raise your voice,” said Papri Saha, music therapist and counsellor.

The hospital has been conducting outreach programmes in schools and colleges and setting up health camps to tell people that cancer is not contagious.

Friday’s programme was part of a nationwide campaign by the Public Relations Society of India, in collaboration with the hospital. “The idea is to reach out to patients and create awareness so they go for check-up and screening,” said Soumyajit Mahapatra, chairman, Public Relations Society of India, Calcutta chapter.