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Closing the Care Gap: Voices of Hope from Top Cancer Experts on World Cancer Day

Cancer experts share their opinions on World Cancer Day

New Delhi (India), February 01: On this World Cancer Day, let’s come together to raise awareness and extend our support to those bravely battling cancer. It is an important moment to reflect on how these cancer care experts are contributing and collaborating with the cancer community to close the cancer care gap. World Cancer Day is a powerful opportunity to speak out, to call for action, to listen to cancer patients and their families, and to give them a voice of hope. In this article, health experts share insights and opinions on World Cancer Day, shedding light on the ongoing collaborative endeavours to improve cancer care and support. 

Dr. Irfan Bashir, MBBS, DNB, Senior Consultant and Head Radiation Oncology Batra Hospital, New Delhi

With an annual incidence of approximately 15 lakh cases, early diagnosis and treatment offer a cure for most cancers, dispelling common myths that perpetuate fear and delay. Common cancer myths include the belief that it’s always fatal, incurable, and treatment is always painful with severe side effects like hair loss. Dispelling misinformation is crucial. In the era of precision and personalized medicine, treatment has become less toxic with very high cure rates, and patients leading active life even during the treatment particularly with the advent of minimally invasive and robotic surgeries, targeted therapies and newer radiotherapy techniques. Radiotherapy techniques like IMRT, IGRT, SRT target cancer cells precisely, preserving normal tissues for an improved quality of life. With proper treatment, the chances of living cancer-free have never been better.

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

“On World Cancer Day, February 4, let’s stand united in the global fight against cancer. Together, we can raise awareness, promote prevention, and support those battling this relentless foe. It’s a day to reflect, educate, and inspire positive change. Join hands for a future where cancer holds no power, and every life is touched by grace, resilience, and hope. #WorldCancerDay #TogetherWeCan”

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

To all the incredible individuals navigating the challenging journey of cancer, I want to convey a message of hope, strength and resilience. In the face of uncertainty, remember that you are not alone. Embrace the collective strength against illness. With dedicated healthcare professionals and unwavering support from loved ones, we stand resilient together. In unity, we find the power to overcome life’s trials. Hold onto the small victories, celebrate each milestone, and find solace in the courage you display every day. Embrace the challenging path and celebrate small victories. Your unique journey inspires others. Small progress fuels resilience. Embrace joy, find beauty and believe in a brighter tomorrow. Your strength is immeasurable, and your spirit is unbreakable. As you navigate the complexities of treatment and recovery, remember that resilience resides within you.

Dr. Sreenija Yarlagadda, MBBS, MD, Radiation Oncology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala. Fellow at Miami Cancer Institute, Miami, Florida, United States of America

This World Cancer Day marks the final year of the powerful 2022-2024 “Close the Care Gap” campaign built to make cancer care accessible to everyone. Dr. Sreenija, bridging healthcare across India and the U.S., witnesses a seismic shift in attitudes. Some warriors proudly wear their badges, sharing stories openly, while others, burdened by stigma, guard their secrets, never disclosing their battles. Beyond tobacco and alcohol risks, lifestyle changes like exercise and a wholesome diet prove pivotal in prevention. Embracing screening methods such as mammograms and Pap smears can detect cancer in its early stages, leading to more effective treatment. Cancer is no longer a death sentence. Evolving treatments like radiosurgery, immunotherapy, and precision radiation offer hope, transforming the prognosis and improving survival rates significantly.

Dr. Jamal Akhtar Azmi, MBBS, MS, MCH (Urology), Consultant Urologist and Uro- Oncosurgeon- Saifee Hospital, Wockhardt Hospital & Breachcandy Hospital, Mumbai

As a Uro-Oncologist, Dr. Jamal’s journey has been woven with a dedication to redefining possibilities in cancer care. On this World Cancer Day, he reflects on the collective strides they’ve made in the realm of urological cancers. Each patient’s journey is a testament to human resilience, driving commitment to advance clinical care and research. Navigating the complexities of urological oncology requires a holistic approach. Tailored strategies and compassion go beyond medical interventions, providing unwavering support and instilling hope in unique cases. Inspired by progress and a collaborative medical community, he faces challenges with resilience, providing personalized care and a supportive touch. World Cancer Day serves as a poignant reminder that their efforts today shape the landscape of cancer care tomorrow. Together, we stand united against cancer, fostering hope, and paving the way for a brighter, healthier future.

Dr. Mangesh Patil, MBBS, MS (General Surgery), DNB (Genito-Urinary Surgery), MNAMS (General Surgery), Robotic surgery training (USA), Consultant Urologist & Robotic Uro-Oncosurgeon (Robotic Surgery) – Reliance Foundation Hospital, Girgaon, Saifee Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital, Urocare Clinic, Andheri East, Mumbai

On World Cancer Day, prioritize urological health with proactive measures. Regular screenings for prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers can detect issues early, enhancing treatment outcomes. Adopt a balanced lifestyle by maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Stay physically active and avoid tobacco products, as smoking is linked to urological cancers. Stay hydrated to promote kidney health, reducing the risk of certain cancers. Be mindful of occupational exposures to chemicals, as some may contribute to urological cancer risks. Finally, foster open communication with healthcare providers about family medical history and any concerning symptoms. By embracing these preventive steps, individuals can take charge of their urological well-being and contribute to a world where cancer impacts fewer lives.

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

Cancer, impacting millions globally, is a formidable force that shakes lives to its core. Amidst the turmoil of a cancer diagnosis, hope emerges as a powerful companion on the journey to healing. It’s not just a wish but a dynamic force that significantly impacts a patient’s well-being. Dr. B. Ravi Shankar emphasizes the psychological and emotional benefits of hope, enabling individuals to endure the challenges of cancer treatment. The belief in recovery encourages resilience, helping patients persist through difficult times and stay committed to the healing process. In cancer’s journey, hope endures a resilient guide through peaks and valleys, lighting the path forward. Beyond mere optimism, hope influences treatment outcomes, nurturing resilience and fostering supportive communities. The intricate tapestry of cancer, testifies to the human spirit’s strength, providing solace and inspiration on World Cancer Day.

Dr. Venkata Sampath V, MBBS, MD, DM (Medical Oncology), Senior Consultant Oncologist at Apollo hospitals, Jubilee hills, Hyderabad

The landscape of Cancer treatment in the last few decades has been transformative and revolutionary with giant leaps in certain areas such as Molecular biology, Robotic surgery, Immuno-Oncology, Antibody-drug Conjugates, Proton therapy, CART Cell therapy, etc. Many survivors are no more stigmatised to share their success journey on combating cancer. Though the incidence of this dreaded disease has Increased due to lifestyle changes, environmental pollution, abnormal dietary patterns etc, survival rates have dramatically improved due to multidisciplinary approaches and advances in therapeutic modalities. Challenges persist in early detection, novel screenings, adverse treatment events, and managing advanced, recurrent diseases. The story of Cancer’s conquest is that of human evolution at its pinnacle as Cancer is one of the most Complex, Unpredictable, resistant phenomena. As a Practitioner, he’s inspired by the unwavering hope, grit and determination of patients, patient attendants, researchers and all exceptional physicians and surgeons involved in the persistent battle against this malady.

Dr Rushit Dave, MS MCh (Surgical Oncology), Consultant Oncosurgeon and Co-founder at Airavat Cancer Care, Ahmedabad

On this World Cancer Day, Dr. Rushit Dave would like to place a strong emphasis on taking the first step as early as possible. Many would have a misconception of cancer as an incurable disease. But if treated early with proper management one can still be cured of cancer. Surgical breakthroughs now cure once-deemed incurable cancers effectively. Most of the population would think operations for oral cavity cancer will lead to facial disfigurement and difficulties in routine activities like talking and eating but they are trying to change this mindset. Performing scarless oral cancer surgeries with advanced reconstruction techniques, preserving natural features for optimal functional outcomes. Early thyroid cancer treatment ensures near-normal appearance. Advanced cases can be cured with extensive surgeries, involving thyroid, trachea, and sternum resection with successful outcomes.

Dr. Suril Vithalani, MBBS, MPH (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, USA), MS (General Surgery), FGIS (Surgical Gastroenterology), Gastro Prime+ Clinic, Hon. Gastro Surgeon at Sterling Hospitals, Dr. Jivraj Mehta Smarak Health Foundation, Ahmedabad

“Shining Light Amidst Shadows: The Hope of Pancreatic Cancer Surgery” In the realm of pancreatic cancer, surgery holds a profound significance, embodying hope amidst formidable odds. Pancreatic cancer’s aggressiveness and late detection make surgery challenging yet crucial for intervention. Advancements in surgical techniques, coupled with enhanced diagnostic tools, offer a glimmer of hope. Surgery for pancreatic cancer offers hope, extending life, alleviating symptoms, and potentially achieving remission for many. Expert surgeons navigate complexities, removing tumors, restoring function and improving life quality with innovation. Every successful surgery symbolizes resilience, determination, and unwavering belief in better days. Hope fuels research, trials, care, lifting outcomes and aiding survivors post-surgery. Fostering solidarity, patients, caregivers, and professionals unite for healing and progress. In the face of pancreatic cancer, surgery symbolizes medical intervention and the enduring spirit of hope.

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