Editor’s Note – Aug 2019
Our folklore is replete with stories or fables of little children, and the powerful innocence and simplicity of young minds. Working with children, in whatever capacity, exposes one to their fresh take on life; it’s inevitable that their joie de vivre and optimistic outlook rub off one people who work with them. But when you are a doctor, especially a paediatric oncologist, things can get difficult, especially as you feel empathetic towards the little ones and their suffering.
Data shows that only 20 per cent of children suffering from childhood cancers survive in India, whereas the global ratio is 80 per cent. A number of factors—including difficulty to access treatment, parents’ jobs, and relying on traditional alternatives—- add up to create this appalling statistic. More needs to be done to ensure that childhood cancer is screened for early on, and that treatment is made accessible to families, taking into account all socio-economic variables. Our cover story this time touches upon these points and takes a hopeful look at positive change in this regard. Because little children deserve a shot at a beautiful life.
We take a look at the increasing trend that incorporates alternative medicine to complement the treatment of cancer, to alleviate symptoms of suffering and to attain peace of mind. We also bring you stories of hope in the forms of survivor Dr Chandni Ravi, who now lives an inspiring life and dedicates time to help those afflicted by cancer, and in the turnaround story of a little panchayat that transformed acres of toxic wasteland into beautiful, bountiful vegetable farms and paddy fields.
Let’s dedicate this issue to hope, to all things bright on the horizon, in the words of poet Emily Dickinson:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
Dr. Ulhas Ganu