Yes! 90% of cancer patients can be cured. All that they need is timely treatment and systematic counselling sessions to help them overcome fears of losing life and regain the will to live.
Soma Sinha along with her husband Ujjawal Sinha. (HT Photo)
This is what 50-year-old Soma Sinha from Jamshedpur, who has devoted her life to counselling cancer patients ever since her husband got cured of the deadly disease, says.
Sinha is more familiar with the name ‘counselling angel’ among cancer patients across Asia, but the Jamshedpur health department doesn’t really care about her.
It has refused to grant her little space in any of the local hospitals to help her carry on her counselling mission. She is unable to continue the sessions at her residence in Bardih, as the number of help seekers has increased.
But, Sinha, who runs a social organisation ‘Ashar Aalo Maa Saroda Cancer Helpline’, hasn’t given up. Over 500 patients have benefited from her counselling sessions so far.
The beneficiaries include an officer of Tata Steel, an employee at Tinplate Company of India Limited, a teacher at a private school in Telco, among others. Patients from Bangladesh, Malaysia and other countries are in regular contact with her. A Mumbai-based cancer NGO and support group awarded her at CAN India Conclave for her dedicated service.
She has adopted blood cancer patients, a girl from Sonari and a boy from Baridih Basti, to ensure their academic expenditure. She joined Indian Cancer Society in Kolkata in 2008 and started conducting weekly counselling sessions at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute there.
Sinha’s husband gives training to ‘esophageal speech’ affected cancer patients.
It all started with a successful treatment of Soma’s husband, Ujjawal Sinha, who was detected with throat cancer in 1999 at Tata Memorial Hospital. During his treatment, Soma got interested in the hospital helpline in 2007 and took training for cancer awareness counselling.
And since then she has been guiding patients on how to get treatment at minimum expenditure, gain access to hospitals with proper accommodation facility and what all they can get as part from the government’s schemes.