Meghalaya Celebrates National Cancer Survivors Day

Meghalaya Celebrates National Cancer Survivors DayShillong, June 13th, 2024: The Civil Hospital, Shillong and State Cancer Society, Meghalaya today celebrated ‘National Cancer Survivors Day’ at the DAE-Civil Hospital Cancer Wing. This event honours the strength and resilience of cancer survivors, while also raising awareness about the ongoing battle against cancer in the region.

Dignitaries in attendance include Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh, Hon’ble Minister, Health & Family Welfare, Shri Sampath Kumar, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare and Chairman, State Cancer Society of Meghalaya, Dr. Joram Beda, IAS, Commissioner & Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Dr. F.V. Kharshiing, Director, Health Services (MI), Dr. Lily S. Ch. Marak, Additional Director, Health Services, Dr. Anisha Mawlong, Head of Department, Oncology Department, Civil Hospital amongst others.

Earlier, in February this year, Meghalaya hosted the Meghalaya Cancer Conclave with the theme “Close The Care Gap” which witnessed a gathering of key stakeholders, including oncologists, cancer researchers, scholars, NGOs, top bureaucrats amongst others with a focus on addressing the disparities in cancer care and ensuring equitable access to treatment for all.

Hon’ble Minister, Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh in her keynote address stated that the government is committed to ensure that people are provided with the best possible treatment for cancer and is working towards bringing the latest medical equipment and facilities to every district of the state. “We have a long journey ahead, we shall not stop, we shall not say that we have done it all. Together this government will serve the people. It is not individuals, or ministers or any other doctor or staff, but together we will fight this.”

Shri Sampath Kumar, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare said “By listening to our cancer survivors, it gives us a lot of hope, that if detected early, we can actually cure cancer. The key message here is that awareness is very important.” The cancer wing of Civil Hospital, Shillong is providing care for more than 7000-8000 patients every year, which is a massive effort done by the government, and most of the budgetary expenditure that Meghalaya is spending, which is almost close to 9 percent of the state budget is on health care.

Dr. F.V. Kharshiing, Director, Health Services (MI), while emphasizing on the importance of continued support for cancer patients and the importance of combined efforts said, “From shared experiences, we’ve learned that power to combat cancer lies within our heart and our souls. It’s about maintaining a positive mindset, believing in our ability to overcome challenges, and spreading awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention.”

The programme also saw testimonies given by cancer survivors. One of the cancer survivors stated that she is thankful to doctors and healthcare providers at Civil Hospital, Shillong who provided her with the best treatment. She urged everyone to not be afraid, but to make the best possible use of the early screening and treatment facilities that are being provided.

Guided by the State Cancer Society, the Government of Meghalaya in collaboration with Apollo Telemedicine Foundation and the World Economic Forum, in May 2023, launched the ‘Megh Can Care’ program with the aim to screen people for cancer and mobilize them for early diagnostics and treatment and enhance a responsible system of care delivery. The government has also launched a cancer helpline number 14410 to avail free screening.