Survivors Conference Pune 2014

The third edition of Breast Cancer Survivors Conference Organized with the support of NAG Foundation, was held on October 4th and 5th. This conference was supported by Breast Friends Pune and Womens Cancer Initiative-Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai. More than 300 Survivors from Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Jalgaon and Goa attended this year's Conference. The main aim of the Conference was to bring Survivors under one umbrella so that they can learn from each others experiences and receive experts guidance at the Conference. Various aspects of Breast Cancer, like lingering side effects of Surgery & Chemotherapy and anxiety about recurrence, that persist long after cancer treatment is complete, were addressed.

This years program, also constituted sessions on genetic counseling. Panel discussions on long term side effects with multi-disciplinary team of doctors including Psychiatrist, Neurologist, Dermatologist & Dentist and empowering patients with proper legal advice.

At part of this conference, a walk on the evening of the 4th October in association with GLOBEATHON. See took place. This 1.5km "Walk for Cancers" objective was to spread awareness about Breast Cancer, and to show support and solidarity to cancer survivors and patients, who were an integral part of the walk. More than a 1000 people participated in this inspiring walk, to help cure cancer. The SNDT college also presented a short play centering on the theme of cancer, at the start of the walk and at its culmination.

WCI-TMH Annual Conferences at Tata Memorial Hospital

2014: Advances in Breast Cancer - 1st ABSI (West Zone) Breast Course and Joint Multidisciplinary Symposium October 10th-12th : This meeting was jointly organized by Indian Cancer Society, WCI-TMH & GOKARMA Oncology Association in Goa. The meeting aimed at multidisciplinary Symposiums, highlighting the advances in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, and striving to provide a forum for private and academic physicians, as well as health workers, to interact with thought-leaders in the field.
The international Faculty included Prof. Andrew Hanby from Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology (UK), Prof. Clifford A. Hudis, Chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (US), Prof. Hope Rugo Director of the Breast Oncology Clinical Trials Program University of California (USA) & Prof. Sibylle Loibl, from the Department of Medicine and Research and a member of the management board at the German Breast Group (Germany).

2013: Innovations & Controversies in Gynaecologic Oncology 26th & 27th October, and Pre-Conference Workshop on Onco-Imaging in Gynaecology 19th October : The conference covered a spectrum of issues including present day controversies related to gynaecological cancers and newer discoveries in the field. Eighty six international and national experts in Gynaecological Oncology enlivened the conference with didactic talks, panel discussions, debates and state-of-the-art surgical videos.
Pre-Conference Onco-Imaging Workshop on Gynaecologic tumors was organised on 19th October. The keynote speaker was Dr. Kumar Sandrasegaran, who is a renowned radiologist with exhaustive work and academic experience in Body Imaging, especially gynaecologic imaging. He is a distinguished Professor of Radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine. The national facultly included Dr. Mukund Joshi, who was recently awarded Lifetime achievement award by RSNA at Chicago. Some of the other distinguished speakers included Dr. Kulbir Ahlawat, Dr. Poonam Bajaj, The TMH faculty included, Dr. M.H.Thakur, Dr. Suyash Kulkarni, Dr. Nilendu Purandare, Dr. Supriya Chopra, Dr. Nilesh Sable.

2012: Loco-regional Treatment for Breast Cancer 19th-21st October Pre-conference Oncoplasty Workshop 19th October: The conference is aimed at addressing the recent advances in treatment of breast cancer. Emerging evidence from randomized trials, has demonstrated a paradigm shift in surgery for breast cancer. The conference will aim on focusing on Oncoplasty which is now a widely accepted surgical technique. International faculty that will be attending, Dr. Fiona Mc Neill, Dr. Ismail Jatoi, Dr. Sarah Darby and Dr. Stefan Gluck. 2011: 9th Annual WCI-TMH conference focused on "Recent Advances in Breast Cancer and the Cancers of the Uterine Corpus", 14th-16th Oct, 2011. The conference revisited all the important international conferences held in 2010-2011, and covered key presentations made at these conferences and reviewed current issues, thus covering a broad spectrum of ideas and thought processes.
Additionally, controversies related to Uterine Malignancies and formulating guidelines for the management of the same were discussed.

2010: This year's conference focused on updating the Guidelines in Primary breast and cervical cancer 22nd-24th Oct, 2010. The mandate was to form consensus guidelines on the management of these cancers. The conference aimed to cover a broad spectrum of issues including present day controversies related to these two common women malignancies. International & National experts enlivened the conference with deictic talks and debates. The conference was endorsed by ESTRO who sent its own representatives to attend the Event.

2009: Focused on targeted therapy and Onco-plastic surgery, in breast cancer and Prevention of Gynecological Cancers 30th Oct-2nd Nov,2009 :
Over 250 Prominent oncologists from India and abroad deliberate on the focused theme. At this conference the Mobile Outreach Programme was launched.
The Women's Cancer Initiative in partnership with the Department Of Preventive Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, launched its first Mobile Screening Van for early detection of breast, cervix and oral cancer on 1st November 2009.
The inauguration of presided over by Chief Guest, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Hon. Minister of Health & Family Welfare as well as other prominent personalities such as Guest Of Honour, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Smt. Shameem Azad (wife of the Hon. Health Minster) flagged of the van on this auspicious occasion.

2008 : Prevention & Early Detection of Common Cancers in Women @4th-25th October,2008 : The Conference was attended by over 200 oncologist from around the country and an International Faculty including Ambassador N. Brinker, USA from the Komen Foundation, R.Muwonge, France, R. Sankaranarayanan, France, VTsu, USA, T Chen, Taiwan.
The conference covered issues related to Prevention, Screening, & Early Detection of Breast, Cervix & Tobacco related Cancers (among women).

2007 : Advanced Breast Cancer & Ovarian Cancer: Current Management & Future Challenges 26th – 28th Oct : The Conference focused on problems and challenges in treating metastatic breast cancer and ovarian cancer - two most challenging situations for Oncologists and subjects of worldwide research. International Faculty Members included Alain Fourquet, France; Andrew Seidman, Jonathan Cosin, Maurie Markman, Robert Bast & Robert Coleman USA; David Miles & Peter Hoskin, UK; foremost experts in malignancies with original contributions to their credit discussed issues related to metastatic breast cancer and ovarian cancer and contributed to academic deliberations through panel discussions etc.

2006 : Breast Cancer Conference 6th – 7th October – Dr. James Reuben, head of Hematopathology at MD Anderson Cancer Centre, USA & pioneer in Minimal Residual Disease in Breast Cancer shared his experience in setting up a Minimal Residual Disease laboratory enabling us bring the technology to India. Dutch Researcher Dr. Marc van de Vijver, pioneer on use of MICROARRAYS in cancer enlightened 500 attendees on the use of a Mammaprint where researchers are able to duplicate results in different areas of the world with different genetic signatures. A live hands-on demonstration to standardize immuno-histochemistry for breast cancer reporting followed.
Theme Topic : 6th Oct: Breast Cancer Prognostic & Predictive Markers
7th Oct: Cervical Cancer – An Update

2005 : Breast Cancer – Locoregional Control 30th Sept – 2nd Oct: Attended by 150 Surgical & Radiation Oncology experts, the conference focused on Locoregional control & aspects of surgical techniques & radiotheraputic modalities. Prof. Jack Cuzick, renowned epidemiologist & researcher from UK, delivered the keynote address & Breast Cancer Management faculty from Univ. of Wisconsin Hospital, USA discussed locoregional control surgery, External Beam Radiation Therapy, Tumour Bed Boost, Partial Breast Irradiation with brachy-therapy & IMRT, Controversies in management of axilla & internal mammary chain & sentinel node biopsy & sampling.

2004 : Adjuvant Systemic Therapy for Breast Cancer 20th – 21st Nov : 6 International Faculty , 4 National Faculty & 2 from Tata Memorial Hospital shared knowledge & skills with 134 delegates. Dr. Bernard Fisher, Scientific Director, NSABP, delivered the keynote Address: 'Evolution of Adjuvant Systemic Therapy for Breast Cancer : My 40 year Experience' over a live tele-conference between Univ. of Pittsburgh & Tata Memorial Hospital. An Open Meeting of the Indian Breast Group was held alongside.

2003 : Live Surgical Workshop on Breast Conservation & Reconstructive Surgery 11th – 12th October : Attended by 150 delegates from India as well as residents and post-graduates from TMH and other medical colleges. Dr. R. A. Badwe head of Surgical Oncology – TMH performed a live surgical demonstration of a standard Breast Conservation Surgery. Some international faculty who participated were Prof. Landuyt, Plastic surgeon-Univ. Hosp. of Ghent, Belgium ; Prof. Sanjay Varma, Univ. Hosp. Leicester, UK ; Prof. Geoffrey Robb, CM of Plastic Reconstructive Dept at MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, Texas. Sessions were chaired by national faculty such as : Dr. Mukund Thatte (Mumbai), Dr. Samir Kumta (Mumbai), Dr. Mukunda Reddy (Hyderabad), Dr. R.K. Sharma (Chandigarh) & Dr. George Abraham (Cochin)


The Tata Memorial Hospital is India's premier research institute in finding cancer causes and cures. In keeping with the Aims & Objectives, the Womens Cancer initiative has sponsored several research projects undertaken by various specialists.

Research projects for which funds have been allocated are:
• Dr. Amita Maheshwari : 'Assessment Of Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy As A Technique For Early Detection Of Cervical Cancer In Developing Countries: A Pilot Study'

• Dr. R A Badwe : 'Assessing Impact Of Exogenous Progesterone On Gene Expressions In Breast Cancer: An Exploratory Study In Postmenopausal Women'

• Dr. Narendra Joshi : 'Study Of Killer Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor (KIR) Genotypes And HLA-C Allotypes In Breast Cancer Patients And Healthy Subjects'

• Dr. Reena Nair : 'Timing Of Systemic Chemotherapy In Patients With Isolated Locoregional Recurrence Of Breast Cancer'

Dr. Sudeep Gupta : 'Estrogen Priming To Increase The Efficacy Of Standard Adjuvant Chemotherapy In Operable Breast Cancer'

• Dr. Umesh Mahantshetty : 'Optimizing Treatment Of Cervix Cancer Using Radiotherapy And Analysis Of Virally-Associated Cellular Resistance'

•  Dr. Aruna Alahari Dhir : Role of Plasma BNP (Brain natriuretic Peptide) levels as a screening test for anthracycline induce cardiotioxicity a pilot study.

•  Dr. Umesh Mahantshetty : Quantitative Estimation and Evaluation of HPV 16/18 DNA in pre Treatment, post Treatment and follow up eveluation in carcinoma Cervix IB2IIIB treated with radical radiation or chemo-radiation therapy.

iDiva's The Heroes Project Event

iDiva's Heroes with Gul Panag, Tisca Chopra & Mr. Chandrashekhar Joshi, Director of Sales and Marketing, Courtyard by Marriot. went PINK with The Heroes Project, an event to felicitate Breast Cancer   survivors as well as those who have helped support the cause and make a difference to   those who have fought the disease.

  Guests of honour Gul Panag and Tisca Chopra were joined by celebrities like Suchitra Pillai,   Sona Mohapatra, Prerna Wanwari and Sandip Soparrkar, who showed their support as   ambassadors of the cause. Theatre personalities like Sonali Sachdeva, Varshaa Agnihotri   and Dilnaz Irani from the popular The Vagina Monologues were also present at the event on   Sunday, November 11 at Courtyard By Marriott, Andheri East, Mumbai.

  “Being a part of's Breast Cancer awareness programme is a great honour. I am   happy to associate with this effort to keep the women of our country healthy. I'm glad is helping create a dialogue of relevance,” said actress Gul Panag. “The more   awareness there is among people, the better are the chances of fighting this disease,” she   added.

Tisca Chopra echoed her sentiment. “It is a pleasure and honour for me to be associated with a project of such meaning. iDiva is a hero for organising an event like this. After all, awareness and early detection can save a life!” she said.

The event kicked off with tea, coffee and of course, pink cupcakes and continued with an educative and fun morning with spunky host, stand-up comic Aditi Mittal!

Through's 'Nominate a Breast Cancer Hero' campaign, 15 inspiring survivors were picked from Mumbai and another 10 from across the country and felicitated at the grand culmination event.

Highslide JS   The Heroes Project is supported by Women's Cancer Initiative, TATA Memorial Hospital.   Key speakers included dignitaries like Devieka Bhojwani (a Breast Cancer survivor herself)   who shared her journey as well as how she founded Women's Cancer Initiative, Indian   Health Organisation Oncologist Dr Vikas Ostwal elaborated on lifestyle and preventive care,   Radiology Oncologist Dr Rakesh Jalali talked on advanced Breast Cancer treatments and   support groups for patients and their families and Gynaecologist Dr Kiran Coelho focussed   on health check-ups for women at different ages and Breast Cancer risk factors. Trichologist   Dr Apoorva Shah talked on cancer and hair loss. Holistic Health Guru Mickey Mehta   conducted a fun meditative workshop for attendees at the event too.

Highslide JS   A special painting by singer and painter Suchitra Krishnamoorthi was unveiled at the   venue.The work of art was created by her when her sister, a Breast Cancer survivor, was   fighting the disease. Designer Aarti Vijay Gupta too, put on display a special creation around   the Breast Cancer theme. Both, the painting and the creation, will be auctioned at a later   date. The proceeds from the same will be donated to Women's Cancer Initiative, TATA   Memorial Hospital.

  On supporting The Heroes Project, Suchitra says, “I am happy to involve myself with this   Breast Cancer awareness cause. As someone who’s seen her own sister suffer from   Breast Cancer and emerge a hero, I'd like to tell all women passing through this storm, ‘You   are not alone.’ Together we'll see this through.”

  Aarti Vijay Gupta says, “Breast cancer is something that can happen to anyone. That's why   I’m happy to have designed and donated an outfit for auction for this cause. I think it’s   important to do your bit to contribute.”

After the event, guests played some fun games at the iDiva interactive desk and won complete health check ups and gym memberships as well as availed of complimentary hair consultation courtesy Richfeel, the presenting sponsor.

The event was followed by a sumptuous feast at Red Zen, the award-winning Pan Asian restaurant at Courtyard By Marriott.

The First Indian Breast Cancer Survivor's Conference 2012!

Highslide JS The First Indian Breast Cancer Survivor's Conference, was held at Hotel Four Points by   Sheraton on Nagar Road on 6th and 7th October. It was organized by Breast Friends Pune   and Women’s Cancer Initiative.Apart from discussions about medical advances in breast   cancer treatment, the conference had equal emphasis upon creating awareness about   Breast Cancer and about the post treatment care required for the breast cancer patients.

  Over 200 breast cancer survivors and their care givers attended the conference from cities   like Mumbai, Pune and Nashik.A banquet followed later in the evening where renowned Film   Personality Smita Talwalkar, a cancer survivor herself, narrated the way she fought the   disease and said best way is to take the medical treatment is with a positive spirit.

  On the second day of the conference over 200 women participated in ‘Walk for Cause’ event,   where actress Sagarika Ghatge (Chak De Fame) lead the group of survivors, doctors, care   givers and supporters on a walk from the Aga Khan Palace to the venue of the conference.

  The second day had hands on workshops by experts from fields of Fitness, Lymphoedema,   Homeopathy and Yoga. Bharati Khandelwal, a well known Personal Trainer from the city   inspired the women to keep fit and eat right.

This was a truly inspiration conference and Mrs Devieka Bhojwani assured everyone that this would be an annual event, much to the delight of the participants.


Annually the Foundation pays for the treatment of 250 – 300 women annually, diagnosed with Breast, Cervical & Ovarian Cancers and who are unable to afford the costs of their treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital but have a great chance of recovery.

We have also been approached by the Dept. of Preventive Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital who are conducting an Outreach Project on Early Detection of Common Cancers among the lower socio-economic women in India. This project started in 1997, has involved trials with 151598 women between the ages of 35 – 64 years.

A fresh cycle of trials started in October 2005 and has been extremely successful so far as results are expected to influence future policies on cancer control programs in India and other resource poor countries. This trial is also probably the single largest trial anywhere in the world comparing the efficacy of clinical breast examination with no screening.

SUPPORTING the 3rd Asia Pacific Reach to Recovery International Breast Cancer Support Conference {Nov 7th – 10th, 2006}

The 3rd Asia-Pacific Reach to Recovery Breast Cancer Support Conference titled, ‘Jagruti – The Awakening’ - a project designed by the International Union against Cancer Control to promote Worldwide Volunteer Breast Cancer Support & awareness programmes took place in Mumbai.

Every 2nd year this International Programme is held at various venues around the world with prior conferences conducted in Malaysia (2002) & Singapore (2004).


Marking International Women's Day, the Foundation sponsored several Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening & Awareness Camps organized by Tata Memorial Hospital's Dept. of Preventive Oncology under guidance and supervision of Dr. Gauravi Mishra. Camps were held across Mumbai especially in the lower socio-economic & backward areas of Dharavi, Powai, Borivali, Colaba, Wadala etc…

Due to the high number of women found to have shown positive signs of developing Breast or Cervical Cancer in future, the health camps will continue to be conducted. The Foundation also pays for the treatment of the women diagnosed.

WCI – TMH finanacially supported the registration fee of a free cancer detection camp for 200 women on the basis of prior appointments, which was conducted by The Department of Preventive Oncology at Tata Memorial Hospital on the occasion of Breast cancer awareness month in October -November 2012.

Women’s cancer screening:
A total of 200 women were supported through the WCI funds for cancer screening in the Department of Preventive Oncology during the months Oct-Nov 2012.

Cervix Cancer screening:
Among 200 women who were screened for cervical cancer,
• 22 were detected screen positive and were subjected to colposcopy guided biopsies
• Six women were detected with cervical precancerous and are undertaking planned treatment in the Department of Preventive Oncology
• One women was detected with early invasive cervical cancer and was referred to Gynaecology services of the TMH for further management and treatment

Breast cancer screening:
200 women were also screened for breast cancer, among which three were diagnosed with suspicious lumps on preliminary screening. None of them was a cancer case on final histopathological confirmation.



Breast Cancer Awareness Month - October 2012 (Women’s cancer awareness & screening campaign)

Department of Preventive Oncology at Tata Memorial Hospital on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October 2011 initiated a women’s cancer awareness campaign with free cancer screening for women from the low socioeconomic and underprivileged communities.

This initiative was supported by Women Cancer Initiative. ( WCI – TMH ) by sponsoring the cost of breast and cervical cancer screening of women in the Department of Preventive Oncology at TMH. Women from low socioeconomic groups were screened between 8th Oct. to 30th Nov. 2011.

Cancer awareness programme for Cervical and Breast Cancer:

The Department of Preventive Oncology conducted series of women’s cancer awareness sessions through health talks by Medical Social Workers across various low socio economic communities in Mumbai. Health talks on prevention and early detection of cervical, breast and oral cancers were delivered using Audio-visual medium with distribution of booklets and pamphlets in local languages in these communities. At the end of talk women were invited for screening at the Department of Preventive Oncology. Similar health talks were delivered in waiting area of Department of Preventive Oncology.

Women were also approach through various NGOs working with underprivileged and low income group women for common cancer screening. Health talks were delivered at their respective adopted communities. Total of 17 NGOs across Mumbai region participated for the cause and referred women for screening at Tata Memorial Hospital. A total of 120 cancer awareness session were organised through out the two months long screening programme.

Women’s cancer screening:

A total of 521 women from age group of 30 to 60 attended the cancer screening programme in the Department of Preventive Oncology during the said period.

Cervix Cancer screening:

Among 521 women who were screened for cervical cancer,
• 63 were detected screen positive and were subjected to colposcopy guided biopsies

• 13 women were detected with cervical precancerous and are undertaking planned treatment in the Department of Preventive Oncology Two women were detected with early invasive cervical cancers and were referred to Gynaecology services of the TMH for further management and treatment

Breast cancer screening:

521 women who were also screened for breast cancer,
• 162 women were detected with abnormal Clinical Breast Examination findings and were further referred to advance digital mammography or sonography.

• 7 cases of breast cancer were detected in screening programme were referred to Breast services for further management and treatment.

We appreciate the support from WCI in sponsoring the free screening of breast and cervical cancer in the Department of Preventive Oncology benefiting underprivileged women in early detection of the most preventable cancer among women.

Note: Attached is the list of participating NGO’s in the women’s cancer screening initiative at the Department of Preventive Oncology.

Dr. Sharmila Pimple
Addl. Prof. and Physician,
Dept. of Preventive Oncology

Dr. S. S. Shastri,
Professor and Head,
Dept. of Preventive Oncology,
TMH, Parel (E), Mumbai – 4000

Roche India makes personalized healthcare more accessible with Project Prayas in partnership with Women’s Cancer Initiative – Tata Memorial Hospital

Roche India along with Women’s Cancer Initiative (WCI) has embarked upon an ambitious collaborative project to bring together personalized healthcare and corporate social responsibility. This project is known as “Prayas”. The term, “Prayas” in Hindi means efforts to make a difference. This project is in collaboration with Asia’s largest super specialty Cancer treatment centre Tata Memorial Centre. The main objective of this project is to expand the access of the Standard of Care to needy patients suffering with Breast Cancer. This project was inaugurated on 7th April 2011 at Tata Memorial Centre. The occasion was graced by the presence of Dr. Franz B Humer, (Chairman Roche Holding Limited) to articulate Roche’s commitment to such project from the highest level along with Dr. Girish L Telang (General Manager Roche – India Management Centre) and Dr. Rajendra Badwe (Director Tata Memorial Centre,

Such a project is truly unprecedented as India is a non reimbursable country where patients pay out of pocket. Each patient requires atleast 3 vials of Herceptin. Each vial costing Rs. 1.25 lakhs making this generous contribution from Roche amounting to nearly Rs. 2 crores annually.

Breast Cancer which is ranked second among cancers afflicting women in India, poses many challenges in its path to patient care. More than 100000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year in India. Out of this, it has been estimated that around 25% HER2 positive. Since HER2 positivity is associated with more aggressive disease and poor prognosis, all breast cancers should be screened for HER2 protein and if positive should be considered for Herceptin treatment. Unfortunately this is an extremely expensive drug making it out of reach for most patients. Through project “Prayas”, many of the needy patients requiring adjuvant treatment will get access to Herceptin free of charge. Dr. Humer in his inaugural address emphasized Roche’s commitment and support, also appreciating the efforts undertaken by the Women’s Cancer Initiative foundation. Under this project till Roche’s commitment is to provide adjuvant Herceptin free to 50 patients annually who are below the poverty line.

Through this project, Roche India has the confidence to meet its objective of making a difference in the lives of the patients. This project is managed by Women’s Cancer Initiative, a foundation that engages itself proactively with various issues related to cancers in women such as breast, cervical and ovarian cancers and Tata Memorial Centre. The foundation has been set up as a collaborative effort between Tata Memorial Centre and Ms. Deveika S Bhojwani (founder – Women’s Cancer Initiative foundation) and remains primarily focused on breast cancer.

Photo caption:
Inaugration of Project Prayas
From left: Dr Girish L Telang, Dr R A Badwe, Dr Franz B Humer, Ms. Devika Bhojwani


Women's Cancer Initiative : Deveika Bhojwani
Project Prayas : Dr. R Badwe
Inauguration : Dr. F. Humer & Dr. R. Badwe
Address : Dr. F. Humer
Felicitation & vote of Thanks : Dr. S. Gupta



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