Bhubaneswar,Feb. 4: It cannot shake my faith. It cannot dent my courage. It cannot put a full stop. Cancer is no longer the scourge it used to be.
This was the message that was delivered to a large gathering of cancer survivors who assembled to celebrate the ‘World Cancer Day’ at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital on Tuesday.
“All that is needed is awareness and lifestyle change to avoid cancer, or if it strikes, get the available treatment to be free from its grip,” Prof. Gangadhar Sahoo, Dean of IMS and SUM Hospital, faculty of medical sciences of SOA Deemed to be University, told the gathering.
The biggest attraction of the day was Anand Arnold, a cancer survivor from Ludhiana, who despite being confined to a wheel chair, is a celebrity today as a bodybuilder of international fame.
“I was afflicted with cancer of the spine when I was only 15. I underwent surgery and followed it with physiotherapy for three years,” said Arnold, his chiseled body glistening under the spotlight.
As he had been going to the gym for body building at the age of 11, he resumed training though he had been paralysed neck downwards. He went on to win the Mr. India (Wheelchair) title four times thereafter and Mr. Olympia (Wheelchair) title, an international bodybuilding competition, in 2018. His biography, ‘Weightless: A True Story of Courage and Determination’, authored by Allen Woodman, hit the book stores in 2015.
“Don’t think life is over when you are made to sit on a wheelchair,” Arnold said as he was given a standing ovation. Odia matinee idol Uttam Mohanty, who also attended the programme as guest of honour, said if a person remained positive in his attitude, the disease could be conquered.
This year’s theme for the World Cancer Day being ‘I am and I will’, Prof. Sunil Agrawal, Onco Surgeon at SUM Hospital’s department of Onco Sciences, said once a person was diagnosed with cancer, a great deal depended on how he reacted to the situation.
“It is your choice and a person should never pity himself for being afflicted with the disease,” he said adding IMS and SUM Hospital was reaching out to the patients by taking up surgery at low cost.
Prof. Sahoo, an eminent gynaecologist, said cancer of cervix in women could now be prevented as a protective vaccine was now available. It was also hugely beneficial to fast for half a day every fortnight to keep away from diseases, he said.
Prof. Neeta Mohanty, Dean of Institute of Dental Sciences, SOA’s faculty of dental sciences, said her institute conducted periodic cancer detection camps in villages, different localities and old age homes while running a tobacco cessation centre. The Medical Superintendent of IMS and SUM Hospital, Prof. Pusparaj Samantasinhar and Medical Oncologist, Dr. Soumya Surath Panda also spoke.
Medical and nursing students presented skits to create awareness about the disease but a ramp show by cancer survivors, mostly young men and women who also flashed the victory sign, took everybody’s breath away.