Cancer Care Chronicles: Celebrating This Doctor’s Day with Oncology Innovations

New Delhi (India), July 1: On this special occasion of Doctors’ Day, we celebrate the remarkable advancements in Oncology and the dedicated healthcare professionals who tirelessly work to improve heart health. Here are some of the top 10 doctors who have dedicated their lives to saving hearts and improving the lives of countless individuals.

Dr. Gunjesh Kumar Singh, MBBS, MD, DM Medical Oncology (Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai), ESMO Certified Medical Oncologist, Consultant & HOD- Bhagwaan Mahavir Medica Super Speciality Hospital, Ranchi

In oncology, continuous innovations have revolutionized cancer diagnosis, treatment, and care. Cutting-edge technologies, such as precision medicine, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies, have emerged as game-changers, offering personalized and more effective treatment options. Genomic profiling has allowed the identification of specific genetic mutations driving cancer, enabling the development of tailored therapies. Immunotherapies harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer cells, leading to remarkable responses in patients. Advances in imaging techniques, such as molecular imaging and liquid biopsies, have improved the early detection and monitoring of cancer. Additionally, the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning has enhanced diagnostics, treatment planning, and outcome prediction. These ongoing oncology innovations hold immense promise in improving survival rates, minimizing side effects, and ultimately transforming the landscape of cancer care.

Dr. Jojo V Joseph, MS (Surgery), MCh (Oncosurgery), Senior Consultant Surgical Oncologist – Caritas Cancer Institute, Kottayam – Indira Gandhi co-op Hospital, Kochi

For a surgical oncologist, National Doctors’ Day is an important occasion to recognize the contributions of these doctors to the treatment of cancer and the well-being of their patients. Surgical oncologists are highly skilled and specialized doctors who focus on the surgical management of cancer. They are experts in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of various types of cancer and play a vital role in the multidisciplinary care of cancer patients. On National Doctors’ Day, patients, colleagues, and the general public can acknowledge the dedication, sacrifice, and compassionate service that surgical oncologists provide to individuals and families living with cancer. It is an opportunity to thank these doctors for their expertise, their commitment to advancing cancer treatment and care, and their willingness to work tirelessly to help their patients overcome cancer. For surgical oncologists, National Doctors’ Day is also a time to reflect on their role in the healthcare system and to renew their commitment to their patients, colleagues, and profession.

Dr. Mishil Parikh, MBBS, MS, Orthopaedic Oncologists Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital, Consultant OrthopaedicOncosurgeon at Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai

If you experience unexplained swelling that gradually increases, with or without pain, it is crucial to consult an Orthopaedic Oncosurgeon. In India, bone tumour diagnosis typically involves imaging studies like X-rays and MRI scans, with X-rays aiding in diagnosis in 80% of cases. Biopsy plays a vital role in confirming the diagnosis. For planning a needle biopsy and establishing a diagnosis, X-rays and MRIs are usually sufficient. Following confirmation, a PET scan is performed to assess the tumour’s stage and potential spread to other areas. Treatment for these tumours depends on their type and stage. Surgery is often the primary approach for benign tumours, while malignant tumours may require chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Managing bone tumours in India requires a multidisciplinary approach in this emerging field. Early diagnosis, accurate planning, and meticulous execution can yield positive outcomes. Therefore, any unexplained swelling persisting beyond a week should be promptly evaluated by the nearest Orthopaedic Oncosurgeon.

Dr. Bharat Ashok Vaswani, MD(General Medicine), DM (Medical Oncology), MRCP- UK(Medical Oncology) ECMO, PDCR, Senior Medical Oncologist & Hematologist-Yashoda Hospital, Secunderabad

The field of medicine is rapidly advancing, and Oncology has seen significant evolution over time. The diagnosis and treatment of cancer have greatly improved as well. Next-generation sequencing, conducted on cancer tissue, enables the identification of molecular alterations, leading to personalized medicine for patients based on their abnormalities. Liquid biopsy tests, performed on body fluids, urine, and blood samples, offer a less invasive alternative to tissue biopsies, providing quicker results. Specific gene mutation tests are available, allowing for tailored treatment plans. Moreover, chemotherapy has undergone remarkable development, with targeted therapies presenting fewer side effects and the possibility of oral administration, reducing healthcare costs and hospital admissions. Additionally, the advent of immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment. It is essential for doctors to continually update their knowledge and embrace these new technologies to ensure the delivery of optimal patient care.

Dr. Satvik Khaddar, MD, DM Medical Oncology, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Indore 

In recent years, there have been groundbreaking innovations in oncology that have revolutionized cancer care. These advancements have paved the way for more effective treatments, improved outcomes, and a brighter future. Precision medicine stands out as one of the most notable breakthroughs. By analyzing tumor genetic makeup, oncologists can tailor treatments to target specific mutations, ensuring personalized therapy with higher success rates and fewer side effects. Additionally, immunotherapy has emerged as a game-changer, harnessing the body’s immune system to combat cancer cells. Another significant development is the advent of liquid biopsies, providing a non-invasive alternative to traditional tissue biopsies. These tests detect cancer-related genetic alterations through a simple blood sample, enabling real-time monitoring of treatment effectiveness and timely adjustments. Staying informed about these advancements is crucial, as each breakthrough brings us closer to a future where cancer is no longer a devastating diagnosis but a treatable condition.

Dr. B. Ravi Shankar, MD (CMC), MBA, DNB(RT), MRCP, ECMO (Medical Oncology) FESTRO (Rad Onc), PDCR, OCTT, Managing Director – Omega Hospital, Visakhapatnam

Cancer is a global problem, responsible for one in six deaths worldwide. In India alone, the estimated number of incident cases in 2022 is over a million. Lung and breast cancers are the leading types among males and females, respectively. While conventional treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy have been utilized, recent advancements in targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and CAR T-cell therapy show promising results. These personalized approaches focus on the molecular profile of tumour cells, aiming for safe and efficient treatment. Targeted therapy interferes with cancer growth molecules, effectively blocking their spread while minimizing damage to normal cells—unlike conventional chemotherapy. Immunotherapy, on the other hand, boosts the immune system to fight against cancer. Advanced radiotherapy techniques, including IMRT, IGRT, VMAT, and SGRT, play a vital role in delivering high-precision radiation to tumour sites, reducing toxicity to healthy cells. Integrating artificial intelligence into cancer research and diagnostics can help overcome challenges, providing tools and platforms for advanced treatment options against this life-threatening disease.

Dr. Chinna Babu, Clinical Director & Surgical Oncologist- Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad

Today, robotic surgery is one of the most recent innovations in the spectrum of minimally invasive oncosurgery. The current technology in the field of robotic surgery can improve surgical outcomes in treating cancer through improved and highly magnified 3D HD visualization and intraoperative near-infrared fluorescence imaging, which enables a visual assessment of tumour tissue and related tissue perfusion.

Robotic instruments allow for endo-wristed movements, improving surgical dexterity and expanding the options for minimally invasive tumour resectability and surgical reconstruction. The scaling of motion in the movement of robotic instruments can enhance the precision and safety of surgical procedures. All of these factors contribute to minimizing surgical trauma and increasing the precision and safety of tumour resection. Looking ahead, the usage of AI and ML in surgery will drive greater efficiency and value, potentially reducing surgical variability. This advancement will help unlock new experiences and opportunities for providers and patients.

Dr. Rudra Prasad Acharya, Director of Surgical Oncology, Paras Cancer Centre Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon

Minimal access surgical oncology, also known as minimally invasive surgery, has transformed the field of cancer treatment by offering numerous advantages to patients. With smaller incisions, reduced blood loss, and faster recovery times, this approach has significantly improved the patient experience. Moreover, the precise nature of laparoscopic and robotic cancer surgeries allows for the targeted removal of tumours while preserving healthy tissue, leading to better outcomes and improved quality of life for cancer survivors. ICG forms an integral part of new OR, leading to multiple uses in cancer surgeries. By incorporating cutting-edge technologies such as image integration via AI, surgeons can enhance their decision-making process, ensuring accurate diagnoses and personalized treatment plans. 

Dr. Shreeniwas Sheelawant Raut, DM, HOD, Medical and Hematoncologist, Stem Cell Transplant Physician – Bharti Vidyapeeth and Hospital, Pune

Oncology is undergoing a transformative shift with the incorporation of various advancements. One of the groundbreaking developments is CRISPR, which has revolutionized gene editing and opened up new possibilities for targeted immunotherapy approaches. Artificial intelligence has become instrumental in improving cancer diagnosis, drug development, and precision medicine through computer programming. Telehealth techniques have revolutionized patient management, enabling cancer care, treatment, and clinical trials to be accessible remotely. Cryo-EM technology generates high-resolution images that provide valuable insights into molecular behaviour, informing cancer treatment strategies such as imatinib in CML. The Infinium Assay, analyzing millions of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), helps map cancer-causing genes and provides insights into risk, progression, and development. Robotic surgery, utilizing robotic arms, facilitates precise and minimally invasive cancer removal, resulting in faster recovery and a quicker return to normal life. Particularly in prostate cancer, robotic surgery has become the standard of care for operable cases, transforming the landscape of oncology.

Dr. Nitin Singhal, Mch Surgical Oncology (TATA Memorial), Senior Consultant Minimal Invasive (Laparoscopic / Robotic) and Hipec Surgery, Practice in Ahmedabad

Cancer Treatment is not just about surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Just as cancer affects your physical health, it can bring up a range of emotions that you are not used to dealing with. These feelings may change every day, every hour, or even from minute to minute, and it is normal to encounter such feelings. The most common range of emotions experienced by patients includes a feeling of “why me?”, wondering how long they will live or even if they get treated, they may wonder if their life will ever be back to normal. What will society and friends think about me, especially due to the visible effects on my body caused by treatment? It is important to remember that having cancer is not anyone’s fault; it can happen to anyone. It may help to share your feelings with a close one or your treating doctor, who can help you overcome these anxiety-related problems and emotions. Remember, we have two options: medically and emotionally, give up or fight like hell.

Oncologists are the champions of innovation in cancer care, continuously pushing the boundaries of medical science to improve treatment outcomes and enhance the quality of life for cancer patients. Their tireless efforts in research, clinical trials, and advancements in precision medicine have revolutionized the field of oncology and opened doors to targeted therapies and personalized treatment approaches.

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