I had the privilege to be connected to Sanman in May 2018. As a fresh MBBS graduate, I was looking for opportunities for public health service as I prepared for my further studies. The medical school journey had been long, and I was looking for means to not only learn but also to give back to society. I happened to stumble upon Sanman and the work they do as it closely paralleled my future interest in Medical Oncology and Palliative Care. Through them, I was connected to the Indian Cancer Society (ICS), Bangalore. I got to work with them for four months before I had to leave to pursue my higher studies. Our work at ICS mainly involved Oral, Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening (identification of undiagnosed disease in apparently healthy individuals) for underserved populations throughout Karnataka such as housekeeping staff, security guards, garment factory workers, jail inmates, and BBMP pourakarmikas. Oral, Breast and Cervical Cancer are the three cancers which can be clinically detected even at pre-cancerous stages. Suspicious findings through clinical examinations were referred for further diagnostic testing and treatment and were duly followed up by us. We also supported patients in need of financial aid for their treatment. Screening thus gives us a chance to intervene- either to completely prevent progression into cancer or to render treatment at early stages. This not only reduces the health burden on individuals and the health system but also prevents the loss of economic and social productivity.
Through Sanman, I was also able to organize a Blood Donation Camp in my local community with the partnership of Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore where we collected 51 units of blood for the Pediatric Oncology Department. Also, I was further able to refer other patients who were in need of cancer treatment. Looking back at these four months, I feel blessed to have been part of these social ventures. One gets to meet the most sincere, warm and giving people through these organizations. Truly, this work we get to do is never by us, but only through us. This experience has further imbibed in me the spirit of service which I hope will guide the work I wish to do. I will always be grateful to Sanman and the Indian Cancer Society, Bangalore as my stepping stones.
Dr.Radhika Kulkarni, MBBS.