Cancer is the target and coming together to form a common front against it is the need.
Preventive and promotive over curative — that’s the case being made for the nature of cancer care India needs to nurture. It’s a way of thinking that has begun fuelling results on the ground, through collaborations driven by governments at the state and the centre, the creation of networks, systems and infrastructure, and the use of technology.
Partnerships are the key. As the cancer statistics for India get grim and grimmer, it becomes ever more obvious that the responsibility for cancer care and treatment in the country cannot be the government’s alone. Just as obvious is the necessity to embrace a more inclusive and people-oriented way.
A grassroots cancer care project in Assam is attempting just that, reaching a wider populace with screening and awareness programmes while also providing care and treatment to patients. The newly established twin cancer centres in Varanasi cover a different, more specific requirement, as does the Tata Medical Center in Kolkata.
The Tata Trusts are the common element in all three of these ventures. Contributing to the cause of cancer care in India has been a constant for the Trusts since 1932, when Dorab Tata, then head of the Tata group, donated 2.5 million for research in leukaemia (the disease had taken the life of his wife, Meherbai, two years earlier).
The Trusts have enriched that legacy in the years since, notably by establishing the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai in 1941 (handed over to the Indian government in 1957) and the Tata Medical Center in Kolkata in 2011. Less prominent are a host of cancer care projects the Trusts have been involved with across the country.
Helping deliver affordable, accessible and high-quality cancer care, particularly to underserved communities and the poor, is the objective for the Trusts. As the efforts showcased in this section indicate, much has been accomplished. And there’s much, much more left to be done.