Thankful for bringing quality cancer care closer to home

Raju Dutta, undergoing treatment at ACCF Onco Care – Dibrugarh, narrates about his ordeal when he was detected with blood cancer and his expensive treatment before being treated at ACCF’s day care centre

Raju Dutta, undergoing treatment at ACCF Onco Care, Dibrugarh

“I come from a small town in Sibsagar district of Assam and have a modest income. After being diagnosed with blood cancer, I and my family were devasted. Fear of death and the cost of treatment gripped all of us. But the only way out was to get myself treated. We wished to explore possibilities out of the state to get the best treatment.

“I and my wife travelled to Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, and doctors planned my treatment procedure. Just when my treatment had begun and I received my first cycle of chemotherapy, nationwide lockdown was declared. We had to return to Guwahati and completed the next two chemo cycles here. By this time, I lost everything – from hope to property. Expenses mounted and I had to sell off my property to continue with my treatment.

“During this time, I learnt about ACCF Onco Care at AMCH, Dibrugarh from doctors at Guwahati. My friend also informed me about Assam Cancer Care Foundation – a joint initiative of the Government of Assam and the Tata Trusts to provide quality cancer care in Assam.

“The day care centre is a ray of hope. Patients from this region can have access to free of cost quality cancer care. I feel lucky that the centre has come up here at Dibrugarh – as this place is near to my hometown, with a travel distance of two hours only from the otherwise eight to ten hours journey to Guwahati or a few days to Chennai. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to go back home and having home-cooked food after a chemo session.

“I am very happy as I am relieved from the burden of out of pocket expenses, tiresome journeys along with other vulnerabilities during this time of pandemic.

“I am continuing with my treatment at the day care centre under Dr Uma Shankar Kutum – Medical Oncologist, Assam Cancer Care Foundation. A neat and clean facility with amicable doctor and nurses, I am pleased with my progress and already feel healthier than before. I have regained the faith that I will live a disease-free life. I am thankful to the Government of Assam for this initiative, which will boost the cancer scenario of Assam. I also thank my doctor and nurses for taking good care and motivating us.”