This MBBS student lost a foot to cancer, cleared NEET on first attempt and without coaching

NTA NEET: Prerana Rana lost a foot to cancer in Class 5. Now she’s in MBBS at NRSMCH having cracked the NEET exam without coaching.

Prerana Rana lost a foot to cancer and cleared NEET without coaching on first attempt ( Photo courtesy : Prerana Rana)Prerana Rana lost a foot to cancer and cleared NEET without coaching on first attempt ( Photo courtesy : Prerana Rana)

Pritha Roy Choudhury | September 14, 2022 | 10:09 AM IST

NEW DELHI: When she was in Class 7, Prerana Rana decided she would perform Rabindra Nritya, a dance form developed by Rabindranath Tagore, at her school’s Durga Puja celebration. Her teacher dissuaded her. Rana had lost her left foot to synovial sarcoma, a form of cancer, two years before and walked using a prosthetic; dance would be difficult. But Rana insisted and finally performed. Six years later, that steely determination saw her crack the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET UG) for medical admissions on her first attempt and secure a seat in Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

Rana’s cancer was diagnosed when she was in Class 5. Her family had taken her to Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore for a “small surgery” in her left heel. That stay extended to five months during which she was diagnosed with cancer, had her left foot amputated and went through chemotherapy and radiation.

Through those harrowing months, made worse by financial constraints, there was one redeeming factor – the friendly attitude and professionalism of doctors and healthcare workers at CMC Vellore. “I told myself if I am cured and can study, then when I grow up, I will become a doctor,” she said.

Also Read | ‘Person, not anatomy’: How disabled MBBS students fight challenges in medical colleges

Now in the second year of the MBBS programme at NRMCH Kolkata, Rana wrote the NEET exam in 2020, applying in the category for the physically challenged among the Other Backward Classes (OBC). She ranked 808 in NEET result and counselling fetched her a seat at the Kolkata medical college. She had completed Class 12 the same year, scoring 91% and had been preparing on her own for NEET UG without any coaching from Class 11.

School to NEET

Rana had to be taken to CMC Vellore every six months for check-ups and to get new prosthetics fitted as she grew. It placed the family under immense financial strain and Rana, though young, was fully aware and at times disturbed by it.

Her father, Guru Prasad Rana, is a farmer. He supplemented his income by privately tutoring around 20 school-going students, morning and evening, making Rs 100 to Rs 250 per pupil in a month. “At the most, my annual income is Rs 60,000. I had taken loans from well-wishers and friends for my daughters' treatment. I had to return those too,” he said.

There were other challenges as well. The school she was studying in was around three kilometres away, too much for a girl with a prosthetic leg to walk. The family decided to shift to an absolutely dilapidated structure one kilometre from the school and made it their home.

Rana was promoted to Class 6 without appearing for the Class 5 final exams because she was consistently the class topper. But that would be the last time she sat anything out. She continued to participate in sports, dance and less physically demanding activities such as recitation and singing.

Also Read| NEET PG Counselling 2022: Tamil Nadu drops clause asking disabled applicants for 'deformity' photos

Rana remained at the top of her class all the way to Class 10 when she scored 92.55 in the West Bengal Board Madhyamik exams. Starting her NEET preparation from Class 11, she relied on books suggested by the school teachers along with her studies for the Ucchamadhyamik or Class 12 WB Board exams.

MBBS student at NRSMCH

Medical college brought new challenges. Although mentally prepared to stay in a hostel, Rana found the initial days were difficult.

"I [had] never stayed alone or in any other place other than home. So adjustment was a little problem. Sharing the same room with three other students,” she said. Rana also felt self-conscious about detaching her prosthetic limb in front of roommates. “I was initially very uncomfortable. The main thing is accepting this, gradually I started accepting and now I am okay with myself," she said.

The NRSMCH admits 250 MBBS students each year and Rana was excited to be in such a large crowd. “The teacher was teaching with the help of a microphone and two big projectors and we were attending classes in an air-conditioned theatre,” she said. Practical classes were held in batches of 10 students with a teacher and demonstrator.

But she also faces problems. She can stand for long hours but navigating through a crowd is difficult. “Anatomy is a subject which is new for the students. Practical classes are important. But most of the time, some students want to attend the classes again with the next batch. So instead of 10, there are always 15 or 16 students. We have to go near the table and see what the teacher is demonstrating. Because of my condition, I fail to push other students and reach the table,” she explained. There are three physically challenged students in the 2020 batch. The NRSMCH has lifts but no ramps.

Also Read | UGC finalises roadmap for college autonomy, multidisciplinary institutions

Rana has been visiting the field from the very first year and looks forward to the third-year field visits when performance in the field will carry marks. Rana is torn between cardiology and oncology. Right now, oncology is winning but that may change. "I am a little confused,” she said. “Maybe in a few days I will be able to decide."

Follow us for the latest education news on colleges and universities, admission, courses, exams, research, education policies, study abroad and more..

To get in touch, write to us at

Download Our App

Start you preparation journey for JEE / NEET for free today with our APP

  • Students300M+Students
  • College36,000+Colleges
  • Exams550+Exams
  • Ebooks1500+Ebooks
  • Certification16000+Certifications