On January 23rd, 2021, Maina Foundation held a virtual conference with Dr. Padma Shetty at Somaiya Medical College in Mumbai, India and Ms. Durga Gopal, a Stage IV breast cancer patient in Hyderabad, India. The conference was moderated by two medical students, Maya Pandit and Shreya Makkapati. There were about 30 audience members who tuned in to learn about the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Breast Cancer screening and treatment in India. Dr. Shetty, a preventative and social medicine doctor in Mumbai noted that the pandemic has made it even more difficult to encourage women to get screened. She also noted challenges to telemedicine due to lack of comfort with technology amongst much of the patient population. Ms. Durga Gopal inspired the audience with her strength and ability to help others during the pandemic despite her own challenges. She helped with food packets and stitching masks for her local communities while she received breast cancer care at home under the virtual guidance of her oncologist.
The virtual conference underscored the importance of screening and treatment of Breast Cancer in a safe way in the pandemic environment.