Bangalore: He opted for oncology at a time when treating cancer was considered challenging due to poor infrastructure and treatment facilities. The situation has changed for the better over the last two decades. That has made it easier for Manavalan Vijaya Kumar to bring the smile back on the faces of those suffering from the disease and readying a new crop of doctors to face future challenges in cancer treatment.
“Every operation I conduct continues to be as challenging as it was when I entered the field,” Dr. Kumar says. He is one of the two doctors from India to be nominated for special admission as FRCS (Glasg) this year by the prestigious UK-based Royal College of Physicians in Glasgow. Dr. Kumar is the professor of surgical oncology in Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology in Bangalore, which is one of the few regional centres for cancer treatment in the country. He joined the institute in 1984.
“I took up this field as it was challenging considering the facilities available then. The infrastructure was poor and there was no planned approach for treatment,” said this doctor, who comes from Chengalpattu in Chennai. The institute then had only two CT scans and the blood bank system had not developed.
The situation has changed. The Kidwai institute now has a large blood bank and a facility for nuclear scans. It treats poor patients free of charge. “There has been a gradual increase in the number of patients,” he said and added that the institute treats about 6,000 patients every year.
Despite this advancement, one thing that concerns Dr. Kumar is the absence of facility for early screening of the disease. “Most of the cancer detected early can be cured,” he said. Many of the patients coming to the institute are in advanced stage of cancer.