16 February, 2023

Treating cancer, inspiring hope

Andhra Pradesh-based SVICCAR is bridging the gap in oncological care for underserved sections of society

Patient needs are at the centre of the Trusts’ cancer care model
Patient needs are at the centre of the Trusts’ cancer care model
Patient needs are at the centre of the Trusts’ cancer care model
Patient needs are at the centre of the Trusts’ cancer care model

In October 2022, 39-year-old Sirja Chetty’s life changed suddenly. Sirja (name changed) lives in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Her husband runs a shop while she manages the house and takes care of their younger daughter, aged 22. One day, Sirja started experiencing a sharp pain in her back and her body. She found it difficult to even breathe. The pain and discomfort rose to the point where her family had to rush her to a hospital.

The examining physician at the hospital suspected that Ms Chetty’s condition might be much more serious than just regular aches and pains. Based on the examination, the physician insisted on a CT scan and biopsy. Understanding the financial condition of the family, he suggested that they seek these services from Sri Venkateswara Institute of Cancer Care & Advanced Research (SVICCAR).

Supported by Tata Trusts, SVICCAR is one of the largest and most advanced cancer care institutes in the region. Located in Tirupati, the state-of-the-art facility furthers the Trusts’ vision of extending cancer care to underserved members of the community. The centre is equipped with modern cancer care technology and also provides a gamut of oncological services from radiation therapy to surgical, palliative and medical care.

In caring hands

Sirja’s family did not waste any time in bringing her to SVICCAR. However, her condition was deteriorating at a very fast pace. When Sirja reached the hospital her condition had deteriorated so much that she was unable to carry out basic self-care tasks and was in a wheelchair. Medical evaluation followed by diagnostic tests revealed that she is suffering from advanced-stage lung cancer.

Sirja and her family received in depth counselling about her condition and the next steps they could take for management of her condition.

She was prescribed palliative chemotherapy that would help her manage her condition better. The chemotherapy session was slated to be held once every three weeks. When her treatment started, the SVICCAR team realised that her body could not handle the prescribed protocol. Instead, she was assigned a low dose of chemotherapy once a week for three weeks so that she could handle the effects of chemotherapy. Gradually, Sirja’s condition improved.

Better days

Two months into the treatment, Sirja’s health saw a dramatic upturn. Her body ache and pain reduced significantly. She was able to take care of herself, and also manage some of the household chores. This improvement allows her husband to focus on his work and earn a livelihood for the family to sustain itself.

Over time, Sirja’s condition has improved so well that she is now able to come to SVICCAR by herself for her chemotherapy sessions!

Sirja and her family are immensely grateful to the SVICCAR team for the counselling, care, pain management and treatment, which gave her relief, set her back on her feet and improved her quality of life.