“The availability of a high tech [gadget] should not be the reason for its use”

Major technological advances in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics have, while significantly contributing to patient survival and quality of life, also raised important ethical issues on the clinical context that justifies the use of high-tech equipment, V. Shanta, Chairman, Adyar Cancer Institute said on Tuesday.

Inaugurating the Nucletron Indian Training Academy (NITA), a Dutch-aided training facility for radiation oncologists and medical physicists, Dr. Shanta said while there is no doubt that these have added to diagnostic capability, early detection, precision radiotherapy planning and survival, the advent of sophisticated technologies also raised issues such as which high-tech is essential, where it is to be used and what the cost-benefit is likely to be.

Calling upon radiation oncologists to be bound by codes of conduct and ethics, Dr. Shanta said practitioners needed to be guided by the outcome in deciding treatment options. “The availability of a high tech (gadget) should not be the reason for its use,” she said.

Dr. Shanta also called for self-appraisal focused on improved patient care, inculcation of Best Practices and advocacy of treatment decisions determined by efficacy of therapy, survival and quality of life.

Cost effectiveness

“As important (as these) will be cost effectiveness and cost benefit. Treatment must be affordable so that the fruits of research can reach everyone without distinctions,” she said.

M. Ravi, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said training and skills development were essential for any organisation.

Jonathan Briers, representing the Netherlands-headquartered company Nucletron, said the company aimed to move from providing products and services in radiation oncology to providing solutions.