Cancer Aid and Research Foundation
Is a registered medical NGO and non-profit Charitable Organization established with a zealous endeavor of striving endlessly towards the welfare of underprivileged cancer patients, without distinction of caste or religion.
Prof. A. A. Kazi, Fmr. Dean of the faculty of Arts, University of Mumbai, Chairman-Emeritus and founder of CARF along with his like minded colleagues founded this NGO to provide standard health care at no cost and in the journey so far has contributed significantly towards bridging the wide gap between government and private sectors working for cause of Cancer cure.
He is also the only Founder of 'Kokan Mercantile Co-op Bank Ltd., Mumbai-10 established in 1969. The Bank has now got about 24 branches all over Maharashtra and employees more than 500 people in them.
Cancer Aid & Research Foundation - Indian Charitable Organization
India has a population of about 1 billion, which corresponds to 16.5% of the world population. Although cancer is not at present a very frequent disease for the Indian population, increasing longevity ensures that the number of cancer patients will increase proportionately in the coming decades.
India is a vast rural panorama with 70% of the population residing in villages in rural surroundings. Cancer statistics demonstrate that cancers frequently observed in India are lifestyle dependent, with offending factors such as tobacco usage, low socio-economic status, multiple pregnancies and poor sexual hygiene. These factors are closely related to the population living in rural surroundings and they are targets for cancer prevention. Low socio-economic status and low literacy rates ensure that most patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. It is very difficult for these patients to achieve cure and they are always provided with only palliative care with much cost and morbidity. These facts indicate that the strategy for cancer control in India should be focused on health education for the rural population and the creation of an infrastructure for cancer management. The latter is expected to function more efficiently in a rural environment. These systems with appropriate low-cost technology might be able to be duplicated as a model for developing countries with low capital inputs.
The control of cancer does not consist merely of diagnosis and effective treatment. In order to achieve any health care objective, it is necessary to identify the fundamentals. Cancer control is a summation of many different components, the most important of which are basic research, prevention and epidemiology, cancer registry database, public and professional education, facilities for screening high-risk patients, early diagnosis, effective treatment modules and rehabilitation programmers. Not many centers can have all these facilities even in metropolitan areas.
In the current global economic scenario, it is prohibitively expensive to envisage and create such a comprehensive complex, particularly in developing countries. It is therefore incumbent upon every existing major comprehensive centre to act as a catalyst to disseminate information and knowledge by a process of intensive interactive coordination with smaller cancer centers in the larger towns and small cancer units in the rural areas. Here the author presents his experience with such an interaction and considers how successful one can be if the planning strategy is appropriate. Essentially these are satellite outreach programmers coordinated and overseen or supervised by a comprehensive cancer centre functioning in the metropolitan areas.
Increasingly, the longevity of the global population in general and Asia in particular ensures a rising incidence and frequency of cancer. Increasing public awareness and improved technology for early diagnosis will also add to the number who will develop cancer in the coming years. Although 60% of cancers are preventable, the impact of this knowledge in reducing the cancer load will take a long time. While current technology has the wherewithal to diagnose cancer early to prevent morbidity and mortality, it is difficult to implement this without positive political and philanthropic support to scientists, doctors and paramedical workers. Screening programmers for early detection including mammography, chest X-rays and Pap smears are worthwhile only in high-risk populations, which are now well defined. Routine cancer detection centers for the normal population are a thing of a past era and have not stood the test of time.
The main need in the coming decades is education: education about prudence in lifestyles and diets; education about symptomatology of early cancer; education about availability of screening programmers for the high-risk population; and education about the fact that early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are compatible with long-term cancer-free survival with minimum morbidity. In essence, no cancer control effort can be mounted without education at all levels – public and professional.
The need of the coming decades is not huge, comprehensive cancer centers, but small community cancer centers, which are cost effective and can manage most cancer patients in their own environment. Currently, 50% of cancers are curable if detected early, 25% can be effectively palliated by treatment even in an advanced stage and for the remaining 25% good palliative care and pain relief can be achieved. In the new millennium, if appropriate steps are taken to address the problem in a pragmatic manner, by 2020, two-thirds of cancers could be cured and only 5% of patients will need terminal care.