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National Cancer Institute celebrates one year of "Ayushmati" - An Initiative for Women's Freedom from Fear of Cancer

“Ayushmati”, an Initiative of National Cancer Institute, for Women’s Freedom from Fear of Cancer completed its one year. National Cancer Institute on Thursday, 5th March, celebrated the Women’s Week in the presence Renowned Hindi film actress, Sonali Bendre who was the chief guest for the function. Sonali Bendre delivered a heartfelt and inspiring talk, tracing her battle with the disease and sharing what she learned from it. The actor was diagnosed with high-grade cancer two years back, in 2018.She also encouraged women from different walks of life to come forward and get screened for cancer for early detection and better prognosis. The audience included management, patrons of NCI and the ‘Ayushmatis’.

The programme began with introduction to the National Cancer Institute and its initiatives, specially “Ayushmati” by Shri. Shailesh Joglekar, General Secretary and CEO to the audience. Dr Anand Pathak, Medical Director, briefed upon the journey of “Ayushmati” and the data trends observed. He impressed upon the need for cancer screening for women for early detection due to the growing prevalence of cancer among women in India.

Mrs. Shital Teli-Ugale, Metropolitan Commissioner, NMRDA who was present for the function as the Guest of Honour addressed saying, “A complete household revolves around women and the well-being of the women determine the well-being of the family. If we save lives of women through early detection, we are saving the complete household and all the members involved”. She encouraged the women to come forward for early detection and appreciated the efforts taken by National Cancer Institute by conducting “Ayushmati”.

Ms. Sonali Bendre, Chief Guest of the function, expressed how fascinated shell-shocked she was after visiting National Cancer Institute as she compared it with other globally located cancer hospitals through her experience. She shared her experience of battling cancer and her denial saying, “How can this happen to me? We all have the believe that this is not going happen to me. But we need to understand this can happen to anybody.”

Further she added, “Women feel shy, are busy with their lives, experience fear. But if you don’t get screened, you will never know. We need to understand cancer does not mean death and I am a living example of it.” She expressed anguish over the casual approach of people and encouraged the men to send the women of their lives for the cancer screenings.

She embraced and advocated the tagline of National Cancer Institute which is “Freedom from Fear of Cancer” as mental well-being comes first and concluded by saying, “I think it is important to spread the message in the society, Early Detection Saves Lives.”

The programme concluded with the interaction with the ‘Ayushmatis’ where she answered question related to her personal journey, coping mechanism, nutrition, societal stigma and stress management.