Distinguished Advocacy Award

Recognizes advocates and/or advocacy organizations that provide active, dedicated service to patients/survivors, families, and caregivers—on a local, regional, or international level—and persistently engage in the fight against gynecologic and other cancers

Abhishek Shankar, MD
India

For outstanding work on cancer awareness, training for cancer care professionals and advocacy throughout India, South East Asia and at global level, including founding Pink Chain Campaign – a nationwide cancer awareness campaign in India and Indian Society of Clinical Oncology (ISCO) - an organization focused on cancer awareness,  oncology training, and research, and advocacy —as well as influencing the lives of people in need with an aim to minimise disparities and inequalities in care and outcomes by various programs on cancer control and prevention.

About Abhishek Shankar, Pink Chain Campaign and Indian Society of Clinical Oncology

I am a radiation oncologist with an additional training on cancer control and prevention from National Cancer Institute, USA. I have been very active in creating community based cancer awareness to ensure cancer prevention and early detection in India. Our first docu- drama ‘Pink Chain’ and first stage play ‘CANSURvive’ highlighting gynaecological cancers have been seen by millions of people in India. I also founded Pink Chain Campaign - a female cancer awareness campaign in India which has touched lives of more than 100,000 women in the last 10 years through hundreds of programs and events. We have more than 5000 registered volunteers working to boost cancer care.

I am a member of the Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation Committee of International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and Chair of Clinical Cancer Committee of Asian Pacific Organisation of Cancer Prevention (APOCP). I have been awarded with IASLC Global Mentorship Award and was trained in Japan. I work as Associate Editor of APJCP and Editor in Chief of APJCC and have published many articles on gynaecological cancer awareness and advocacy. I am a frequent speaker in national and international conferences.

I was privileged to start and lead the Preventive Oncology Unit at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. We have provided training and mentorship on cancer control and prevention to more than 200 health care professionals from India, South East Asia, Europe, Africa and USA, including 150 health care professionals from North Eastern states of India where the overall cancer incidence including cervical cancer is the highest in the country. I also have delivered more than 200 public lectures on community-based cancer prevention and screening in women.

I founded Indian Society of Clinical Oncology (ISCO) and launched education series ‘Updates in Oncology’.  We have educated more than 2000 cancer specialists, residents and scientists through conferences, workshops and preceptorships. We started a ‘Student Mentorship Program’ in which several studies were conducted and published by college students on the various aspects of gynecological cancers under the guidance of a mentor.

We know that cancer survival has improved over years but still women are dying with cancer in view of lack of awareness, lack of family support, lack of resources and access to care. Pink Chain Campaign and ISCO are working to minimise the disparities and inequalities in care and outcomes for cancer patients

Please visit pinkchain.org and iscoindia.org to learn more about us and our work.