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Rehabilitation of Cancer Patients and Survivors

Campaign by INDIAN CANCER SOCIETY

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Story

As early as 1961 and 1979, the rehabilitation program and the vocational training workshop respectively initiated by ICS for cancer patients was a pioneer effort. In India, the latest cancer statistics suggests that 2.25 million people are living with Cancer. The medical treatment and support systems for cure is relatively robust. However, post completion of treatment, not only medical but non-medical services becomes the core need for any survivor and their families. The side effects and late effects of different types of cancer have varying impact on individuals and their functional abilities. Depending upon the age of cancer diagnosis the impacts range widely such as discontinuity in education, cognition issues, functional issues, coping with treatment, loss of employment and social relationships, self-identity, determination, confidence. It affects growth process in adolescents, marriage prospects and fertility concerns, livelihood opportunities, fear of recurrence or secondary cancers. This calls for proper support systems and counselling services for guidance and appropriate referral services for improving the functional mobility through vocational skill building programs. Given the increasing cancer incidence in India, there is a lack of patient-centered rehabilitation services during and post cancer treatment to improve health, well being and functional capacity of individuals.

The primary objective is to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors through vocational skill building alongside psychosocial counseling and occupational therapy. There are vocational skill trainers in each vocational centre such as bag making, printing, prosthetics and tailoring. We are also hoping to set up a full fledged therapy structure with appropriate equipment and aids where a full time trained occupational therapist will run the unit. Similarly, the counselor shall address all non-medical and medical issues related to patient’s/survivors individual life course and provide guidance and appropriate referrals.

In order to provide a holistic rehabilitation we need to provide mid-day meals, a stipend for the time they engage in learning the vocational skills, travel allowance. Rent for accommodation in case they are coming from other states for treatment and are not covered through any other means is an important component to ensure completion of vocational skill building program.

By completing a vocational skill building program with support from psychosocial counselor and an occupational therapist, a cancer patient/survivor would gain confidence with functional independence to get back to the original livelihood or locate alternate livelihood options. ICS is also establishing networks and partnerships for ensuring livelihood security through established CSR initiatives already existing. 

ICS has an capacity to engage nearly 85 persons at a point of time at our vocational skill building centre depending on the problems of individual cancer patients rehabilitation needs. While some require rehabilitation of minimum 3 months, some may require extended period of rehabilitation support, up-to maximum six or nine months. We receive patients from Tata Memorial hospital and other hospitals and NGOs.

We hope to reach out gradually to at least 180 patients in the first quarter , 300 in the second quarter, 400 in the third quarter, and 500 in the last quarter. Roughly we hope to reach out to 1000-1300 patients per year for psychosocial counselling and occupational therapy. For vocational rehabilitation we could reach out from 70-120 patients/survivors/caregivers over a 12 month period.

Our primary beneficiaries will be cancer survivors aged 18 to 55 years affected by by Haematological and solid cancers which includes breast cancer, gynecological, colon and lung etc will be given more preference. Women will be given more preference given that, the socio-cultural factors defined by roles and responsibilities affects women in multiple ways. Also a few caretakers of childhood and palliative cancer patients will be included in the vocational skill building unit.

Organisers
INDIAN CANCER SOCIETY

INDIAN CANCER SOCIETY

Beneficiary Charity

Pramila Chandramohan

Pramila Chandramohan

Organiser

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