Friday, December 14, 2012

National Seminar on "Management of Cancer"

On Sunday, 23rd of September, 2012, a National Seminar on "Management of Cancer" was held at THE TAJ VIVANTA HOTEL,  Yeshwanthpur, in our very garden Bangalore.  I was invited to attend the seminar by the organizer of the event, Mr. J.S. Pant. The event changed my perspective towards cancer treatment to a great extent. It was a great learning experience for me, therefore I am sharing it on my blog to spread the word about new frontiers being conquered on the cancer front.
The informative event was organized by Indian Society of Health Administrators, known   commonly to public by its acronym   ISHA. ISHA was founded by late Dr Ashok Sahni in 1979, with the goal of providing manpower training, improving health system development, and life style and effective management of resources available in to the health management professionals. It has been effectively trying to narrow the gaping gap between the available and desirable health services in Karnataka and other parts of India. is the seminar website.
The seminar organizing committee was
Dr Sita Bhateja
Gynecologist And President ISHA

J.S. Pant
Advocate and Consultant in Health Laws

Dr P.N. Halagi
Retd.  Director, Health & Family Welfare Vice President ISHA

Dr V.S.Dixit
Retd.  Director General of Medical Services (Indian Navy)

Dr. S.M. Manjula
Ayurvedic Consultant & Holistic Medicine Practitioner

Director, HCG MSR Curie Centre of Oncology

Dr. Ashok Patil
Physician and Cardio Vascular Fitness Consultan

Dr. Kamni Sahni
Executive Director,

The seminar began with the registration of delegates from 9.00 a m onwards. The entry fee for of Rs.500 was drawn in favor of ISHA for the following delegates
·         Physicians/ Family Doctors
·         Oncologists/Cancer Specialists
·         Holistic Medicine Practitioners
·         Cancer Care Personnel
The entry fee was exempted for candidates who came under the category of

·         PG Oncology Students
·         NGO's Working  for Cancer
·         Cancer Affected
·         ISHA Life Members 
The message given out by the Seminar was strong and clear - Cancer  is  treatable,  controllable  and  manageable  like  a  chronic  disease,  it  need  not  be  feared  or  dreaded. The one day seminar was tightly packed with presentations by experts and outstanding professionals in the field of Oncology where they explained in simple terms which everyone could follow about managing cancer and living a healthy life through conventional medical treatment, modern technologically improved treatment, in addition to alternative therapies and yoga. 
The seminar began with an inspiring speech given by Dr V.S.Dixit. He introduced the gathered delegates to the great personality called Dr.Ashok Saini who is the founder of the ISHA. Dr. Ashok Saini a professor and honorary resource person had also worked as a consultant to the UNO and WHO. By founding ISHA, Dr. Saini aimed at training the health management professionals in Health and Family Welfare fields, Medical institutions, programmes conducted for health management and in education of Community Health Development. ISHA also brings out updates regarding revolutionary methods coming up in health industry.
According to Mr. Dixit the first point of contact for the patients were the health professionals and it was utmost important to prepare them to give proper guidance to the patients who approached them. Though there has been leaping progress in medical science, cancer now seems to be more possessive than ever before. It continues strike terror in the heart of people as though it is all consuming demon. But the truth is that cancer is controllable and curable with proper mode of treatment. Though the cancer survivors are shattered they need not give up on hope. Often the life of the survivor goes through a roller coaster ride of fear and hope.  He gave out a message that cancer can be handled well and there is no need for those diagnosed to despair as cancer patients can lead a fruitful life.
The next speaker was the eminent personality who had to her credit many achievements including  her contribution to St. Martha’s for 34 years, where laid foundation for  the Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which has now developed  into a top-notch department. Dr. Sita Bhateja was the first lady to be inducted into the Rotary Club of Bangalore. She is also a world renowned philatelist with the greatest collection of Indian stamps. She has given back to the society in hundred folds than what she has received from it.
Dr. Sita Bhateja  spoke with high respect about Dr. Saini, his ideals and her association with him. She stressed on the awareness program for cancer which would lead to early detection. She stressed on the part where a large section of our population approaches medical facilities for diagnosis of cancer only when it has reached an advanced stage. The hospitals in our country lack facilities that would enable early diagnosis. She was of the opinion that the Indian Govt. should open cancer diagnosis cells in hospitals which would be accessible 24/7. When patients with minor symptoms get treatment, it saves them from financial burden that comes along with late treatment. She gave out some guidelines in management of cancer including healthy diet, yoga and other simple changes in life-style through which they could achieve a good life. Dr Bhateja mentioned that to deal successfully with the psychological effect of depression, there was a need to have support groups for cancer patients. She is also quoted as to have brought up the idea of establishing a cancer detection cell in every hospital so that cancer can be detected in the early stages and that she would put forward an appeal to the State government to establish such cells across the State.
The next inspiring words came from the chief guest N. Prabhu Dev, Vice-Chancellor, Bangalore University. Mr Dev, who is a also a medical doctor, mentioned how cancer evokes fear not only in patients but also medical personnel. He called upon everyone to join the War on Cancer declared by U.S. President Richard Nixon when signing of the National Cancer Act of 1971. Since then a lot of effort has been put into finding a cure, understanding the cause of and prevention of cancer, the biology and genetics of cancer cells and moreover a more effective treatment of cancer patients.  Mr. Dev called upon the medical professionals to join the war against cancer so that it will cease to be a major cause of death among the human population. He also elaborated on stem cell technology in cancer treatment including its use in treating Leukemia.  A stem cell transplant infuses healthy stem cells into the body to stimulate new bone marrow growth, which will suppress the disease, and reduce the possibility of a relapse.
There are certain cancer stem cells which are the tiny powerhouses that generate and maintain tumor growth in many types of cancers, have developed resistance to chemotherapy and ionizing radiation often used as therapy for these conditions.
Mr. Dev called upon everyone to join hands in providing better treatment of the malignant diseases. He stressed on the point where the health professionals were treating only cancer and not the cause of cancer. He termed the medical institutions as money making system which lacked competence. He advised everyone to follow proper diet and healthy lifestyle to prevent cancer.
Mr. Dev had tons of information regarding the cancer cells, the toxins that dying cancer cells leave behind, about the need of cancer markers and many other revolutionary and innovative methods for conquering cancer.  He believed that the Non-traditional method of treating cancer will soon be the standard form of treatment.  He shared the information regarding the advanced treatment which used the immune based drug in combating cancer. This method used human immune system as a potentially powerful weapon to wage on cancer. The process was simple where the body’s antibodies and immune cells were allowed to seek and destroy cancer in the same way they destroyed bacteria and viruses.
He also elaborated on Immunohistochemistry, which is a method where antigens or proteins in tissue are localized into sections by the use of labeled antibodies as specific reagents through antigen-antibody interactions that are visualized by a marker such as fluorescent dye, enzyme, or colloidal gold. This particular method helps in finding the source of the malady.  Immunohistochemistry is often used nowadays to assess the tumors that are likely to respond to a specific therapy, by detecting the presence or elevated levels of the molecular target. This is bringing Targeted Chemotherapy into the picture, which will go a long way in saving all those healthy cells which are destroyed in standard Chemotherapy treatment.  He also talked about the image guided radiotherapy, through which the damage to normal cells can be minimized by improving the precision and accuracy of the deliverance of treatment.  Image guided radiotherapy quips the physician with ability to image the tumor either before or during the process of radiation itself using specialized computer software.  In case of deviation, adjustments are made to the patient’s position or radiation beams, so that the radiation will target only the tumor while avoiding the healthy tissue that surrounds it.
Even with the progress shown by medical science an estimated 106 million people died of cancer in the year 2011. It was now time for the doctors to buck up and sharpen their weapons to precisely fight the cancer, minimizing collateral damage.
The message given out by the eminent Dr. Dev carries a lot of weight and should be taken seriously by every medical practitioner. Cancer takes away so much from people, there is no need to take more of their healthy tissues by rendering them vulnerable to more diseases.
The opening session had everyone listening with utter attention; because the presentation, though of high medical advancement, was rendered in a manner which could be understood by anyone who had just basic knowledge of oncology and cancer.
The message and advice given out by Mr. Dixit, Dr. Sita Bhateja and Dr. N. Prabhu Dev would change the life of people going through cancer to a great extent, if they were taken note of by the masses, medical professionals and government.

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