‘More cancer specialists needed’

Published - September 13, 2014 11:47 am IST - CHENNAI:

Devendra D. Patel (right) delivered the Dr. S. Krishnamurthi Memorial Oration. V. Shantha of Adyar Cancer Institute is seen — Photo: R. Ragu

Devendra D. Patel (right) delivered the Dr. S. Krishnamurthi Memorial Oration. V. Shantha of Adyar Cancer Institute is seen — Photo: R. Ragu

There is a shortage of oncology nurses, radiation oncologists, palliative care providers and even specialised lab technicians and oncological psychiatrists, said Devendra D. Patel, former director of Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute.

Stressing the need for more cancer specialists, he said, “The 30 Regional Cancer Centres (RCCs) will have to get together and find a way to improve the education in these sectors as well as improve capacity for various cancer specialists that are in demand.” He was delivering the Dr. S. Krishnamurthi Memorial Oration at the Adyar Cancer Institute (WIA) here, on Friday.

“Currently, even for small 10-15 minute procedures like changing catheters or feeding tubes, cancer patients have to wait for hours in hospital. With mobile hospice care, however, these procedures can be done at home,” he said.

“Of all the cancers that are known, one-third is curable, one-third controllable and one-third, incurable. It is mainly for the incurable cancers that there is a need to improve care. Since many of the cancer patients in India come from low-income families, taking care of a patient with terminal cancer in a house that has one room becomes difficult. These are the people hospice care should be reaching,” he said.

In the semi-urban and rural areas, there is a shortage even of good oncologists, which means that many people have to travel 100 km to see a specialist, he said.

Dr. Patel distributed certificates of merit to the postgraduate students of the institute. V. Shantha, chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute, felicitated him.

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