This program was started with a vision to make our society cancer aware, cancer accepting and cancer ready. The stigma and taboo associated with cancer in India is very high and it is perceived to be a dreaded disease. Therefore, it is hardly discussed and never openly talked about. Facilities for the treatment of Cancer are skewed to only 125 cities in India. Awareness and knowledge about cancer and its symptoms among the general physicians, who form the backbone of the healthcare sector in any country is quite low. There is also an increased tendency of people getting influenced by misinformed advice from close social circles and delay visiting an expert, which tends to aggravate the entire situation. The cumulative result is, only 12% of the cases getting detected at an early stage, while 40% cases are diagnosed during advanced stages.
Project “Save” aims at addressing these problems. We counsel people on various myths relating to cancer. We organize awareness programs, early detection camps and health talks related to cancer. These programs create awareness about most common types of cancers, their causes, symptoms and treatment options. To create a long term follow up and impact, the programs are designed to create “trainers” within the target community who can train others to take the initiative forward. Key stake holders are identified for this purpose in different communities. For example, while working with educational institutions, we have created cancer awareness societies with sections of students being in-
charge to take the message forward. We have worked with ladies kitty groups in housing societies where home makers are educated. In industries, the sections representing labour unions are educated to persuade their members to follow health practices while at corporate, HR teams are mentored to create employee policies conducive to discourage possibilities of cancer.
Discussion around “Cancer” is often considered a serious and feared subject. To make the discussions interesting, WOC has designed various activities, quizzes and games involving audiences. These methods help audience come out of the phobia around an intense topic like cancer and get involved in a fun and light manner. We have also organized a Rock Concert by involving senior Oncologists as performers to raise awareness about cancer, which was a great success.
More than 15,000 people have been a part of our campaigns and drives ranging from small communities
to big corporate in the course of the last 7 to 8 years.