Businesswoman, educator, philanthropist and sports enthusiast Nita Ambani, of Mumbai, India, joined the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors in 2014. She is founder and chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, established in 2010 to provide impetus to various philanthropic initiatives of Reliance Industries Limited. The efforts of the group have touched the lives of more than 4 million people across India, in more than 5,500 villages and urban locations.
Cancer is a disease that fills me with intrigue and concern. I am extremely worried about the growing prevalence of the disease, in India and around the world. The statistics are alarming, and hardly a family is spared. I have had to silently watch a number of colleagues, friends and family members fall prey to this deadly disease. The extreme suffering and loss of life I have witnessed have left a permanent vacuum in my life.
My personal crusade against cancer began more than a decade ago when I addressed a breast cancer workshop at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. Ever since, I have been a staunch advocate of addressing the menace of this disease on all fronts: prevention, research, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.
Breast cancer is by far the most common among women worldwide. The fact that 14% of the more than half a million women losing their battle to breast cancer each year are from India brings forth the urgency to effectively deal with it.
In our country, cancers of the head and neck and of the lung predominate among males, and are intimately associated with tobacco habits. That we can prevent approximately half of all cancers and cancer-related deaths is a major wake-up call we will not ignore.
In October 2014, we launched the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, with oncology as a major focus. Along with our research programs, we hope to make a significant contribution to the community by providing education, prevention, state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment. It will be our humble effort to provide the best possible care to all, educate our people and restore quality of life and productivity.
It is heartening to see that many have fought cancer successfully, with courage and a positive outlook, thanks to the availability of better medicines and treatment facilities. This gives hope. On account of the relentless efforts of institutions like MD Anderson through dedicated research, clinical care, preventive initiatives, raising resources and collaboration with the medical fraternity worldwide, we see more optimism in conquering this disease. As a woman and a philanthropist, I understand the critical need to banish cancer from our world. It will always be my wholehearted endeavor to associate with and support MD Anderson in accomplishing its mission of Making Cancer History®.
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