The Pathway to Prevention: Are You Ready to Join D-Care and YouWeCan?
There is a saying in America that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What this means is that it’s better to take precautions and avoid a problem than to wait and try to fix one. This is why I urge my patients to follow what I call “the pathway to prevention”.
‘The Pathway to Prevention’ applies to nearly everything in life. For example, it’s much better to fix a leak in the roof than to wait for a rainstorm to flood one’s home. It’s much better to change the oil in a car than to have the engine fail. It is imminently better to be proactive about one’s health and prevent disease rather than wait for a disease to strike.
And yet, many people in the U.S. and India don’t follow this pathway. They don’t see a doctor on a regular basis. They choose to eat the wrong foods, smoke and forget to exercise. Wandering through life without focusing on health can lead to a future diagnosis of cancer or other chronic disease like diabetes, sometimes when it is too late to treat effectively.
Last winter, my husband Dr. Ravi Durvasula and I founded an innovative medical center in New Delhi that is based on disease prevention and management. Called D-Care India, our center has specific programs for women’s health, senior health, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. The common thread in all of our programs is that we work with our customers to proactively prevent and diagnose disease and protect health, using the latest processes of American quality medicine to do so.
There could not be a better time for India to embrace more formal disease prevention initiatives. Due to the nation’s growing economic success, which has led to diets higher in fats and empty calories and more sedentary lifestyles, Indian people are facing an epidemic of chronic disease and unacceptably high rates of cancer. Poor health is robbing families of their providers, businesses of their employees, and the nation of its citizens.
Women in India are particularly hard hit by certain cancers such as breast and cervical cancer, which often go undiagnosed until in advanced, difficult to treat stages. The statistics on cervical cancer are frightening. It’s estimated 1 in 53 Indian women will develop cervical cancer during her lifetime compared with 1 in 100 women in more developed regions of the world. India leads the world in cervical cancer; it accounts for 17 percent of all cancer deaths among women aged 30 to 69 years.
As dire as the situation is, we can change the course of women’s health for the better through a formal Pathway of Prevention that includes proactively screening women for cervical cancer. This would enable early detection and treatment, reducing the number of cervical cancer deaths substantially. Other screenings for breast and lung cancer should be included on the Pathway so that deaths can be reduced here, too.
There are barriers to such an approach, including the lack of a national, government-sponsored public health policy on cancer prevention; a lack of access to affordable screenings in rural areas and among the economically disadvantaged, and finally, a lack of awareness that something as simple as a screening can save a person’s life. Fortunately, a growing number of organizations are pioneering the way. (I will reveal who in a minute!)
This lack of awareness was driven home recently at D-Care. A well-to-do woman came in for her Super Women of Delhi health risk assessment with a D-Care female physician who specializes in women’s health. The doctor told her she would be performing a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer. The woman grew quiet and was clearly uncomfortable with having the test done. It turns out she had never before had a Pap smear and was shy about the procedure.
After some explaining by our gracious physician on the health benefits of screening for cervical cancer, the woman agreed to the test.
This encounter underscores the need not just for screenings, but also for public education on today’s health issues such as cancer. To achieve better health and lower death rates people must understand the importance of screenings and take advantage of them.
This is where the big thinkers and doers come in; the ones I call the “Pathway Pioneers.” At the top of the list is the organization YouWeCan created by Indian cricketer star and national hero, Mr. Yuvraj Singh. Diagnosed with cancer at the height of his playing career, Yuvraj sought treatment in America. His treatment was successful and in a beautiful act of gratitude, he committed himself to increasing awareness of cancer prevention and early detection across India, including the most remote and poorest villages. Yuvraj and his team at YouWeCare have also worked tirelessly to make life-saving cancer screenings available to more people. This man, his family, and his organization have made the Pathway to Prevention a reality for many!
Thus, it is an honor to share the news that D-Care India is now a partner with YouWeCare. We are now busy sharing ideas and planning exciting promotions to bring the message of prevention and the means to make cancer screenings the standard of care for all Indians. We will walk the Pathway to Prevention together, and it is our hope you will join us.
Author: Dr. Suguna Pappu, D-Care Co-founder