A crusader for bladder cancer support

Nilakanta Siva is educating people on the disease

Nilakanta S. Siva is now a household name in some circles. The 77-year-old retired nuclear scientist from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has been educating people on cancer through his writings. He has also counselled hundreds of families through their toughest times. He has brought out around 20 publications, including three editions of the book, No One Fights Alone. The latest edition, launched virtually on Thursday, is a collection of writings by doctors, patients, care-givers, and family members who watched their loved ones slip away.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr. Siva, aided by social media, arranged for the supply and distribution of urostomy bags for patients in the Thanjavur region. Mr. Siva is a bladder cancer survivor, whose bladder had to be removed. During his battle with cancer, his surgeon sent newly diagnosed patients to him and his wife Rajalakshmi “for a chat”. The couple have so far counselled over 200 families. “We have counselled them to get through their war with cancer,” he says. He has created a group of bladder cancer survivors and the families of three victims. “We relate readily to the problems of the families of people who have bladder cancer, and believe we speak with a great degree of credibility on cancer of the bladder. Hence, we restrict our activities to our area of competence,” he adds.

The royalties from book sales are used to fund the “quarterly review tests, including scan, chest X-ray and blood work, for a few bladder cancer warriors,” he says. Requests for help from those with cancers of other organs are sent to a known NGO.

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