New Delhi: “Why is it that 90% of children survive cancer in developed countries, but not in India? Why isn’t there enough knowledge of the right hospitals and treatment in public or even the doctors? By the time they reach the right place for treatment, it is already too late.”
“Our Prime Minister shares his thoughts in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme with countrymen. We really like that the leader of our country talks so openly to all of us. Today, we want to talk to him our ‘Haq ki Baat’. We want to talk to him about our rights - Right to the best treatment, better support, and care. This is not just a privilege - it is our Human Right.”
Several Childhood Cancer Survivor kids like Sandeep and Vikash had this to say when they took part in the Cyclothon which got off to a flying start today (4th February, 2023) at Delhi Haat. To create awareness towards childhood cancer survivors, a campaign “Haq Ki Baat” was launched by Delhi-based ‘Cankids Kidscan’, a non-profit National Society that works across the country for children with cancer. The event saw active participation from students, professors, faculty and management of the institution.
To show solidarity with cancer survivors, the Cyclothon was flagged off from Delhi Haat. Hundrerds of cancer survivor kids are taking part in this pan India month-long campaign to aware the public.
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“The campaign “Haq Ki Baat” is a Childhood Cancer Survivor led Advocacy and Awareness Campaign to ensure that Childhood cancer becomes a child health priority in India which will engage all stakeholders including hospitals, nurses, parents, schools, colleges and govt. etc,” said Poonam Bagai, chairperson, CanKids.
“At 23rd PHOCON conference at BHU in Varanasi, doctors, pediatric oncologists from all over the country gathered and at the same time NGOs who work on childhood cancer also participated,” she added.
Beena Verma, a senior official at CanKids said, “The programs further will include survivor interactions, marathons, rallies, photography opportunities among others. The aim is to create large scale awareness, raise funds for cancer cure and engage stakeholders to formulate friendlier policies on Cancer Support for all kids. It may be noted that only 40% kids with cancer in India survive against survival rates of 90% in developed nations of the world.”
Sandip Yadav (24), an Ewings Sarcoma Survivor and Vikas Yadav (22), an Eye cancer Survivor whose families had to relocate to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh in their childhood for their cancer treatment at the country’s premier cancer center Tata Memorial Hospital.
They were joined by APML survivor Jishnu Mullick originally from West Bengal and Bhumi, a survivor from Gujarat to raise their voice for Childhood Cancer to be a Child health priority in the War against Cancer in India.
“Childhood Cancers are considered from 0-19 years of age. A newborn baby can be born with cancer. For each child who survives cancer, on average, 71 years of life is saved. Childhood Cancer is rare. Even in India it accounts for 4-5% of all cancers. There are 16 different types of Childhood Cancer,” Beena said.
“At least 50-70% children with cancer do not survive the disease. Worldwide there is estimated to be around 3,00,000 new cases of childhood cancer. In India, the estimate is 78,600 new cases each year, which is an unacceptably high percentage of the global childhood cancer burden. While the survival rates of children’s cancers are 70-90% in developed countries, in India, the survival rate can be as low as 30-50%,” she added.
“India response is vital, and through the Conferences the pediatric oncology community of Doctors, researchers, Civil Society organizations, and patient groups, we will work out plans, next steps and working groups on all different aspects that will need to be addressed to make this happen,” said Dr. Mamta Manglani, President of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Chapter of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics.