Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) is one of the largest cancer NGOs of India. It was established in 1969 with the mission of Total Management of Cancer. Their primary focus is to meet the needs of underprivileged cancer patients who otherwise cannot benefit from the best treatments that medical science has to offer. But they also try to reach out to patients from all walks of life in different ways.
Jagjit Kaur (63), Suman Singh (28) and Urmi Modi (6); If you passed them on the street or in a shop, you’d never guess that they all have had cancer. That is because they are a new breed of people who prefer to “thrive” rather than “survive”; they have all been helped by the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA), Mumbai.
The organisation was founded by Mr. Y.K. Sapru who has been working since 1969 to educate the public on cancer and provide support to those who need it.
In 1990, Mr. Sapru happened to meet Dr. Shubha Maudgal, whose mother had relapsed into cancer and was on the brink of giving up.
Mr. Sapru counseled the old lady, encouraged her to take up chemotherapy again and even introduced them to a doctor who visited them at home to discuss her needs. Dr. Shubha Maudgal went on to work in Bangalore and then to the UK. When she returned in 1998, she decided that she wanted to help cancer patients and joined CPAA.
Benefits of Support Groups
According to Shubha, patients who seek out support groups tend to be self-motivated, curious, positive about their prognosis and want to take control of their own treatments. Of course, the amount of support someone needs is solely dependent on the individual.
She comments that in India, families provide the main support and so patients prefer to forget about the disease rather than seek support from outside.
Support groups commonly provide a range of services to help patients with a range of needs
- Psychological needs are met through counselling
- Information needs are met through lectures, seminars and workshops
- Social needs are met through film screenings, celebrity meetings, outings
How does CPAA Help?
Among CPAA’s many initiatives, Shubha and her team have initiated support groups focused on ‘Children’ and ‘Breast cancer’.
- The children’s support group meetings are often about showing the parents and the children that they can live a normal life.
- Whereas, in the Breast Cancer support group, patients are provided information about diet, yoga, etc. and the women share their personal / medical experiences (both joys and vulnerabilities) with each other.
CPAA also provides financial support to those patients who need it. They donate drugs, provide prostheses, cover costs of radiation (at certain hospitals), and help with accommodation, travel and education.
CPAA has evolved through the years and many things have changed, most importantly the impact they have had on public awareness. As more people began to pay attention to CPAA’s good work and the cancer cause in general, more and more people have come forward to donate money and their time.
Like all Cancer-support organisations, CPAA too relies on its dedicated volunteers to create their magic … and regularly conducts weekend courses to train volunteers on the basic skills or cancer counselling.
CPAA’s motto: Total Management of Cancer
In all these years one thing has remained constant: Changing lives for the better … and CPAA has no plans to stop.
To know more about CPAA’s activities, visit their website.
Mithra Murali is a student of Communications at Mt Carmel College, Bangalore. She says “While working on Cancer Awakens, I had the opportunity to meet some great people and learn about new things. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!”