The Laryngectomee Society at Apollo Hospitals may not be a very well-known association. But when their members celebrate, it is a gratifying occasion not just for the members but also for their kin and others who are suffering from throat cancer. Patients who have undergone a laryngectomy no longer possess a larynx (their voice box) and cannot speak normally. They are trained to speak using a special voice prosthesis.

On Saturday, these cancer survivors wanted to send a simple but emphatic message that throat cancer is curable and that despite all odds, it is possible to lead a normal life after surviving the disease. The society’s members took part in a walking competition to demonstrate their physical fitness despite the rigors of cancer and its treatment.

At Apollo Hospital, tennis star Sania Mirza spent a few hours in the company of about 300 members of the society to mark its 13th anniversary. She interacted with them and appreciated their resilience and courage in facing gruelling odds.

Dr Umanath Nayak, Consultant (Head, Neck Oncologic Surgeon) at Apollo Cancer Hospital, and founder President of the society, said that cricketer and cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh stood as a great testimony. “We have many such Yuvraj Singhs in the society,” he said.

“Throat cancer is a common cancer in our country. This is largely due to the rampant and indiscriminate use of tobacco in different forms. About 12 per cent of all cancers in India are related to the throat. About 1 lakh new throat cancers are diagnosed annually in our country, a majority of which are in the advanced stages,” Nayak said.

The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad accounted for about 1,000 new throat cancer patients every year.

A copy of the book Enduring Cancer - Stories of Hope, written by Dr Nayak, was presented to Sania Mirza.

kurmanath.kanchi @thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 8, 2012)
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