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Hand-holding patients through cancer treatment and care thereafter

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on September 28, 2019 Published on September 28, 2019

Rashie Jain and Amit Jotwani, co-founders of Onco.com

That’s what two fledgling ventures, Carer and Onco.com, seek to do

It’s only when cancer hits home that people feel the desperate need for a helping hand. Figuring out the right doctor and treatment and the after-care that follows, it can all be quite overwhelming.

It’s this gap that two fledgling ventures, Carer and Onco.com, started by two young women, seek to address. Both look to help the patient get personalised care or treatment, as the case may be.

Carer founder Samara Mahindra recalls how they had to find their own path when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. The real gap was in managing treatment symptoms, “sometimes her immunity crashed,” says Samara, on the impact of treatment on the individual’s quality of life.

Samara Mahindra, founder of Carer

Samara’s mother was an active person,”a successful business woman who wore a bandana and went to work after chemotherapy,” she says. She lived a good six-seven years more than the six months that were indicated. “We changed the environment at home, the food she ate, etc,” says Samara, first cousin of businessman Anand Mahindra.

Carer was founded in 2018 to provide integrative therapy and support beyond treatment through nutrition, yoga and meditation. It could start at any stage of the cancer and continue alongside the treatment to recovery or remission. The service is given at hospitals or at home, she says, and there is constant monitoring at home or online by Carer’s team of clinical nutritionists and therapists.

Carer developed a methodology and corroborated data to show patient outcomes and improvement to doctors. Once convinced, the doctors recommend it to their patients. The services are pegged at between ₹18,000 and ₹25,000 per month and are presently available in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. “Doctors were happy to work with a healthy patient,” she says, on the doctor response to the integrated therapy. In fact, they are seeking similar support for heart, kidney and stomach-related illnesses, she says.

Support ecosystem

In Rashie Jain’s case, the co-founding of Onco.com was born from a mix of her background as a biotech engineer from IIT Kanpur, her work exposure to the segment and a personal experience when her father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. Onco.com was founded in 2017 with Dr Amit Jotwani, a radiation oncologist.

“The vision was to empower patients with the right information, even before they start treatment,” says Rashie. When cancer is diagnosed, the journey involves a lot of “darkness and chaos”, she says. “We wanted to democratise information for patients and provide a support ecosystem that gave details of doctors, hospitals, treatment and diagnostics in a transparent manner.”

With a 1,500-strong network of oncologists in India and the US, partnering with hospitals and clinics, Onco.com looks to provide patients a streamlined and personalised treatment plan validated by doctors, with a free advice option and a more specific opinion on payment, she explains. Operating across 17 countries, there are patient discounts, etc, also built in through partnerships. But there are also checks to ensure that the patient family has multiple options at any time and the final choice is always theirs, she adds.

Published on September 28, 2019
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