Dr. Lopamudra and The Asura of Breast Cancer
The much awarded Dr. Lopamudra Das Roy from Assam – with the best degrees from the US, has dumped her formidable career there to work voluntarily on fighting breast cancer
October is the month of Maa Durga, saviour of Humanity.
October is the month of Adi Shakti, the Primordial Power.
October is the month of Women.
October is the month of Breast Cancer Awareness.
Meet the woman who has shaped herself into that saviour of women with breast cancer, or could be a victim of that.
She resemblances their saviour, a primordial power against the global asura that killed 627,000 women in 2018alone;COVID-19 has killed 10,68,047 in less than six months.
Meet Dr. Lopamudra Das Roy, MS, Ph.D, MBA, (Distinguished Cancer Scientist-Research Professor), who has dedicated her life to protect the lives of both women and men by creating awareness and providing health support against the global scourge of breast cancer.
In 2017, she decided to junk her highly lucrative professional career as a breast cancer specialist to take on an entirely voluntary philanthropic mission by forming the Breast Cancer Hub.
She wanted it to take on fundamental challenges related to healthcare, sustainability goals, perform clinical research, analysis and drive results and save more lives on a global basis by working at the grassroots level on breast cancer.
But her story began a long time back.
Aarambh (The Beginning)
“Shh……… don’t say “Breast” so loudly”, hushed one lady to Lopa.
Lopa was shocked. “Is this the respect we give to a mother who lost her life that we can’t discuss the disease that cost her life?”
She was only 12 years old when she went to her friend’s mother’s last rites, where she was trying to find out the cause of the death.
She was shushed as people were hesitant to mention the word “breast”.
Her friend’s mother had died due to breast cancer.
Born to a family of doctors and healthcare providers ‑she realised it over the years how cancer has become a household name and sounded like a ‘death sentence’ because of delayed detection.
Late Dr. Chandra Sekhar Das was a pediatrician, and when he used to advise the mothers of new-borns to breast feed their child. People initially were not very appreciative about him talking about it but later realized the importance.
Breast was, and perhaps is still, considered as a sex organ, and the word ‘’sex’ seems to be taboo across most cultures, though we would never have an overpopulated world without sex!
With a PhD in Molecular Biology (Genetics) from India, Dr. Das Roy did her Post-Doctoral fellowship from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, USA, in Cancer Immunology &Therapeutics, focusing on breast and pancreatic cancers.
She received her MBA from Northwestern University‑Kellogg School of Management, Chicago.
Her professional career started as a lecturer of genetics in Garden City University, Bengaluru, India, followed by her post-doctoral fellowship from Mayo Clinic.
She moved to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and served as a Research Professor, was then awarded grants as Principal Investigator from the Department of Defense Cancer Research Program, targeting therapies and signalling pathways in metastatic breast and pancreatic cancers.
Dr. Das Roy worked as a Research Director at OncoTAb Inc, focusing on cancer diagnostics and therapeutics and as an Adjunct Associate Professor at UNCC and was awarded with Contract Grant from National Cancer Institute as Principal Investigator.
Her original research work is attributed with numerous high-impact publications, citations and press releases.
Those received global recognition from the American Association of Cancer Research and public media for breakthrough work on discovering the signalling pathways between breast cancer metastasis and arthritis.
(Metastasis pathways, put in common parlance, involve a complex series of steps in which cancer cells leave the original tumour site and migrate to other parts of the body via the bloodstream.)
Dr. Das Roy received “Award of Excellence for Humanitarian service” at Male Breast Cancer Coalition Conference, 2019 at Orlando, Florida, USA.
As an aside, let me say that very few people know that even males can contract breast cancer, and even die of that, because it is thought, highly erroneously, that only women have ‘’breasts” and men have “chests!” This is a major handicap in fighting this scourge.
She was also awarded for outstanding performance on relief and welfare activities in India during COVID-19 from Universal Diplomatic Affairs of Human Rights in May 2020.
Her educational and professional career prepared Lopamudra for the next level… The Mahisasuramardini challenging the asura of breast cancer.
Samaraangan (In the battle field)
During her travels to developing countries, especially India, Lopa understood how women or people were not aware of, or they were still shy to discuss about the disease.
She observed the ignorance about breast health care.
The situation is neither good in urban nor in rural sectors.
The situation is grim because certain baseless bias and stigma of using the word breast This largely relates to ignorance, she realised.
Lopa wanted to dig deeper and dived into research about the disease to understand the etymology, discover the pathways to find a cure and therapy.
She always urged to educate the society about the concept of early detection and prevention measures, so that there can be reduced death rates worldwide.
After setting up the voluntary organisation, she is now fully dedicated to serve the community.
Globally, BCH focus on cancer screening camps, outreaches, discussing the signs and symptoms, key risk factors and preventable measures of cancer.
“We navigate suspicious cases towards healthcare facilities and affordable options for the underprivileged and uninsured populace, making sure no one goes untreated.”
BCH Muktidwar (The escape route)
Breast Cancer Hub adopts villages and penetrate deeper, going to each member, each household, maintaining database and follow ups for cancer screening, treatment, management, palliative care and epidemiological research studies.
In February 2020, the first two villages that BCH adopted are Bhorakhai (tea garden) and Bantarapur (Manipuri speaking community) in Southern Assam.
By October this year 2020, they have adopted six more villages ‑Dharamkhal Division of Silcoorie Tea Estate, Bidruhi Par, Sundari Part-I, Sundari Part-II, Bhaurikandi Part-I and Bhaurikandi Part-II.
Their cancer advocates are their stars! BCH provides scientific analysis of the cancer diagnosis & treatment, publishes interviews & stories in local languages inspiring others fighting Cancer.
BCH’s Treatment Bucket aids the underprivileged populace in poverty especially in the developing countries.
BCH brings the true scenarios and data by penetrating into the untapped sectors for substantial impactful scientific results, which is the need of the hour to help the communities.
Through leadership programmes, Lopa trains each adult and student ambassador to become a leader to spread the awareness about cancer, early detection, preventative measures and most importantly, saving lives!
“Save Lives By Awareness, Volunteering, Education & Research – SAVER.
We are a global family. We bridge the gap between the Developed and the Developing world. We stand against discrimination of colour, religion, language and culture. We serve everyone with equality.”
That’s her Mantra!
That’s a promise Dr. Lopamudra Das Roy has made to herself.
And what we must say of her is she reflects of a universal truth about a Mother, and a Protector, whose mission is to re-establish health and prosperity in her world and in her kin. And thus it is that they happen for our benefit in all ages:
Yada yada hi dharmasya, glanirbhavati bharata
Abhyuthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham
Paritranaya sadhunang vinashay cha dushkritam
Dharmasangsthapanarthaya sambhabami yuge yuge
“When Truth and Dharma are attacked by evils,
and when I need to protect the good and destroy the evil,
I manifest Myself repeatedly in all ages.”
Shreemad Bhagavat Geeta, Chapter 4, Verses 7 and 8
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Sid is a dangerous addict… films, theatre, music, food, graphics, comics… name it and he is into it. His dreams are as wide as the sky. Blue, without suffering the blues. Chirpy, open, with a clear idea of sensing what a prospective client would find to be most comfortable with, he has a long list of organisations he has worked and what have you. His alchemy is a must concoction that readers will find exhilarating as they go along.
Dr Lopamudra is doing a great job! Thanks for bringing her story
Thank you Anin! Dr. Lopamudra is indeed doing a great job! We will try to bring more such articles on the society warriors. This week it is Durga Puja special – do visit the website http://www.eastindiastory.com to indulge in the Durga Puja related articles.
Excellent article.. A great piece on the worthy daughter of one of the greatest paediatricians in the region..
Thank you for the appreciation Saumya! Dr. Lopamudra is indeed doing a great work for the society. Encouragement and appreciation motivates her to do more for the society plus encourage the writer Sid Ghosh to bring more such stories of the society warriors. Do read the other articles. This week it is Durga Puja special – do visit the website http://www.eastindiastory.com to indulge in the Durga Puja related articles.
Dr Lopa is phenomenal in bringing education and awareness to everyone she encounters. Her drive to include MEN in her awareness campaign speaks to my heart. My own husband died with breast cancer. I am honored to have Lopa include photos of him as she shares the message of breast cancer in both women and men. She is very deserving of this honor. Thank you for sharing her story so eloquently!!