What the Volunteers Have to Say


Initially when I heard about the Cancer Detection Camps conducted by ICS, I was bit apprehensive about volunteering and contributing to this great cause.

As time passed, I realized every camp was a great learning opportunity and an amazing experience. I get to meet people at different locations with a myriad of health issues. I sometimes end up counseling them, sometimes lend an ear to their problems, while sometimes I get emotional listening to their heart breaking stories. But nonetheless, every camp has a different experience, something enriching to take back home and definitely worth mentioning is the camaraderie that we share as a team.


My wish to work as a social worker was fulfilled when I got the opportunity to volunteer for the cancer detection camps organised by ICS, Bengaluru. While I visited the camps and travelled through the villages of Kolar, Chitradurga, Kollegala, and so on, I realised how ignorant the people were about cancer and its effects.

In camp at Anagondahalli near Kolar, the villagers were very candid and their innocent answers amused us. When we asked them how many times they consumed tobacco-related products in a day, they replied with a wide grin, “Not often, only 8-10 times a day”. Some even said they had no limits and smoked whenever they had some spare time.

I recollect another funny incident when I asked a person if anyone in his household had T.B (Tuberculosis). He proudly answered that he had one in his house. Soon we realised he was actually referring to TV or television and had never heard about the disease TB.

On another occasion, an old woman voluntarily told us she smoked several packets of bidis every day. She kept running away from the doctors, but we finally managed to get her checked and persuaded her to quit smoking.

While working as a volunteer, I realised due to lack of education and awareness, people from underprivileged community prefer to face death than get diagnosed and treated while the disease is in its initial stage. Perhaps fear, ignorance and poverty are at the roots of such attitude. To change this attitude, we need more such detection and awareness camps and more volunteers to fight cancer.



I always wanted to do something more than the regular role of a wife, mother or working woman. It was always my dream to give back to the society. Counseling was my passion. It became a reality with ICS’ emotional support group. I attended ICS’ cancer counseling workshop. It was a great experience which helped me to understand not only how to counsel cancer patients but also the emotional phases that a caregiver goes through.

Working in Vydehi Hospital has been a very humbling experience. Most patients we meet are very poor and uneducated. They need somebody who can empathize with them, listen to their agony, anxiety, and understand how they feel. The way they are fighting against cancer is an inspiration to me.

I am now taking baby steps in emotional counseling. Every session has something to teach me and while I volunteer I feel more humbled and a sense of gratitude overwhelms me. I want to thank ICS for giving me this platform and opportunity where I feel I am useful as a human being.



Pain is the same in all languages and I have had the privilege to counsel patients in at least eight different languages at ESI hospital Rajajinagar, where I volunteer as part of the Emotional Support group of ICS.

As a counselor I have reached out to patients who are complete strangers, but who have come forward and shared their experiences and pains with me. Indian Cancer Society offers me the best platform to offer emotional support to patients and their caregivers and be part of their journey during their battle with cancer.




Compiled by Arpita Bhattacharjee, ICS Bangalore volunteer

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