The 2016 edition of the Indian Breast Cancer Survivors Conference, organized by Nag Foundation and in association with Women's Cancer Initiative, Tata Memorial Hospital, was held at the Sheraton Grand Pune. The conference was attended by 350 participants from Pune, Goa, Nashik, Ahmednagar, and even as far as Delhi and Chennai. The objective of the conference was to gain an understanding of the various aspects of survivorship. Along with the scientific sessions, the sessions introduced coping with emotions using expressive therapy. Art and Dance and movement therapy rejuvenated the participants while the Healthy Cooking tickled the palette.
The 2015 leg of the annual Indian Breast Cancer Survivors Conference, organized by Nag Foundation, Pune along with Women Cancer Initiative, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai focused on empowering women who have been treated for breast cancer. The survivors were informed of the current progress in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, and life after cancer – this addressed problems of survivorship that included bone health, premature menopause, sexuality, lymphoedema, lifestyle issues like diet and exercise, etc. After being made aware of this knowledge, these women emissaries went on to spread facts and dispel misconceptions regarding breast cancer among the general public. This also makes the survivors better equipped with resolving problems that may take place post treatment for themselves.
An additional event as a part of the Survivors Conference was a 1.5 km "Walk for Cancer", in association with Globeathon International, which was a cancer awareness walk with over 1000 participants. The objective of this walk, held on MG Road in Pune, was to not only spread awareness about Breast Cancer, but also to show solidarity and support to the survivors and patients.
The third annual Indian Breast Cancer Survivors Conference, held in 2014 was deemed to be a great success with over 250 survivors and healthcare professionals in attendance. What made it special and even more impactful was that it was organized by members of the Breast Friend Support Group, an initiative for women who have suffered from Breast Cancer at any point in their lives along with their families. Nag Foundation, Pune and Women Cancer Initiative, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai were the driving force behind the conference.
The second annual Indian Breast Cancer Survivors conference was held in 2013, in Nashik. It was organized by the Manaavta Cancer Centre in association with Nag Foundation, Pune and Women Cancer Initiative, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. The attendees were survivors from Pune, Mumbai, Nashik and surrounding areas. This conference though, was also open to caregivers and addressed their needs and problems in a separate session. This conference was focused on survivor issues as well. Survivorship issues include the increased financial burden, concurrent medical problems, psychosocial issues, rehabilitation opportunities, and so on.
In 2012, the Nag Foundation alongside Breast Friends Pune and Women Cancer Initiative, Tata Memorial Hospital hosted the first ever Breast Cancer Survivor Conference, where the conference aimed at addressing the biggest concern each survivor had: 'Now What?' The conference addressed issues of anxiety, and updates on what signs to look out for in the future as well as what to expect.
A parallel session on advocacy as a part of the Conference was held, which focused on gathering inputs, thoughts, and the carrying forward of ideas into concrete programs to aid cancer patients and to provide the best possible treatment and care. The advocacy session was attended by individuals from different organizations across India.
The closing resolution of the 2016 Conference lay in the creation of an awareness charter aimed at collaboration and uniformity in awareness programs across the country. The charter would be a combined effort by the organizations in attendance. As of now, a joint charter is being drawn, bringing to light 5-6 key points in relation to creating awareness as a part of the early detection and betterment of treatment and services to all.
Our survivors give us hope each and every day that what we do at Nag Foundation does make a difference. They are our pillars of strength, and the insight they provide after vanquishing a terrifying illness often gives us the necessary conviction to push forward towards attaining our main goal. This led to us creating a platform for them to share their wise words with the rest of the world.
Nothing brings people together like food, and traditional family recipes are treasured and passed down from generation to generation. We got lucky after a few cups of piping hot teas and convinced our survivors to share some of their favourite recipes for the world to enjoy. They’re filled with high levels of love, taste and health.
In 2010, a few cancer survivors that have worked with us helped promote a very important message. They showed us that even an illness as distressing as cancer cannot curb the beauty within you. It gives you a second chance at life, so live it to the fullest!