Medical profession today has lost the critical balance between science and art. The former is now dominating the field and this has resulted in a change in perception about doctors among people, Chairperson of the Cancer Institute, Adyar, V. Shanta said here on Friday.

Delivering the Annual External Oration at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Dr. Shanta said the component of art represented by “care giving” is slowly disappearing among young medical professionals. Therefore, it is necessary that they are taught this art during their courses.

Elaborating on the developments in cancer cure since 1955, Dr. Shanta said 60 to 70 per cent of all cancers are “common cancers” and three-fourth of such cancers is preventable.

Factors such as environment and personal habits contribute to cancer. So, there is a need to be prudent.

Early detection of the condition and multidisciplinary approaches towards treatment are crucial elements in helping a patient. Stress the quality of life and avoiding long term morbidity are some of the aspects that have to be incorporated in the concepts of treatment, Dr. Shanta said.

Doctors should appreciate limitations inherent in different modalities of treatment. Making the patient satisfied should always be the focus and medical practitioners should not be “distracted by ego” when they choose the treatment for a patient.

“Not only should the treatment be comprehensive but also affordable,” she said.

Addressing an audience comprising medical students and faculty, she said, “one has to stop and think each and every time if the treatment we are prescribing is the best that we could do.”

Pointing out that two out of three cases of common cancers could be cured, she said there is an urgent need to educate the public about cancer and the importance of early detection.