Senior citizens win battle against cancer

Namrata Devikar
Friday, 8 March 2019

Facing cancer in old age is an altogether different challenge, but not for these three superwomen in Pune. Dr Swati Anpat, Vasanti Bhosale and Sudha Vanpal, senior citizens from the city share how they were diagnosed with cancer and why decided to fight it. 

Pune: Facing cancer in old age is an altogether different challenge, but not for these three superwomen in Pune. Dr Swati Anpat, Vasanti Bhosale and Sudha Vanpal, senior citizens from the city share how they were diagnosed with cancer and why decided to fight it. 

Going back a year, Anpat, a consulting gynaecologist at Poona Hospital said at first, after diagnosis she refuses to take treatment.

“Today I am 76. I was diagnosed with cancer last year. It felt futile to take treatment at this age. To go through all the pain and the risk of recurrence seemed huge. And so initially, I decided not to take the treatment. But later the doctors who worked with me, my family and friends convinced me otherwise. And so we started with the treatment which lasted for nine months,” noted Anpat.

She further said that she has maintained her good health since the start, which proved to be a very important part while undergoing the treatment.

“My treatment was also designed in a way that helped me. The doses were divided unlike that given to a younger person, which made the process easier. During this time, I stayed at home after a long time. And my whole family and friends supported me,” said Dr Anpat. 

Sharing her story, Vasanti Bhosale said that she was diagnosed with Lymphoma, which is a cancer that begins in infection-fighting cells of the immune system in 2016. She was 65 years old then.

“I had a frequent fever at that time. Later, with a detailed check-up, it was found that I had cancer.
Doctors were very helpful and shared all the details of the treatment. Today, after almost 18 cycles of Chemotherapy, I am doing normal for my age. This condition has taught me to fight. I recently ran a marathon as well. I come for OPD to the hospital on my own without my husband’s help,” said Bhosale.

She further added that by coming to the hospital for regular check-ups, she often meets other patients. “Most of them are young and scared. Talking to them and giving them my examples helps them to have hope and faith. A positive attitude towards treatment is as important as the treatment. And more important is the family’s unending emotional support,” said Bhosale.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Sudha Vanpal, who has five chemotherapy sessions so far, also added that family support is the most important. 

“The doctors are here to help us, but positive support and never-ending faith and love from family can help the patient even more,” said Vanpal.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Pune-based oncologist Dr Amit Bhatt said that more awareness is needed about geriatric oncology, or cancer treatment for the old people, to reach more people.

 “It is important to make every woman aware that cancer can happen to anyone. But age is not a limitation for treatment if the patient has a strong will and most importantly newer chemos are very much tolerable and easy to handle for any age,” said Bhatt.

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