Doctor’s prescription

19 Jun

cancerI happened to meet Dr Ajai Kumar of Bangalore-based HealthCare Global (HCG) in Mumbai for a quick discussion on what his company has been upto. The radiation and medical oncologist is busy expanding a cancer hospitals network which currently has 16 centres specialising in cancer care in the country. He was in Mumbai to raise funds to set up more such hospitals here and in other countries including neighbouring Bangladesh.

While Dr Kumar did share his business plans, he was keen that I take home an important message.  That cancer can be “managed like any other disease.” It is possible to live a near-normal life with cancer for several years provided the right care is given, he says. Dr Kumar doesn’t understand why even journalists here regard the disease as a death sentence.

Well, I can think of a few reasons prima facie. One, the disease is often diagnosed too late to be treated. Two, allopathic cancer care is so expensive and its side-effects seen so forbidding that patients may opt for alternative therapy or no therapy. Three, cancer drugs don’t always work.

With improved diagnosis, access programmes, and advances in targeted therapy as well as biomarkers there is no reason why these hurdles cannot be overcome.  In the meantime though I can’t help but regard cancer with far more horror than say, diabetes.

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2 Responses to “Doctor’s prescription”

  1. vikas Dandekar June 20, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    Hey Gauri,

    Congrats !! Great start to the blog.

    With cancer care, I think it boils down to one thing – whether the pain associated with cancer treatment does any good to the patient.

    What with most cancer drugs having a survival benefit of only a few months and the patient generally shows unbearable side-effects.

    Keep posting as I will keep coming back here to learn more.

    Like

  2. jo June 26, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    hey gauri….congrats on the blog! some tho’ts on the doc’s observation: “Dr Kumar doesn’t understand why even journalists here regard the disease as a death sentence.”

    it is a nightmare for anyone who has seen a loved one go through the illness. apart from the reasons you have detailed — there is no transparency in whether the medicines work, no counselling to the family and the person with the illness on whether the pain they are going through is expected/ what the numerous tests and their results mean etc ……doctors don’t have the time to extend themselves to anxious patients and family….
    ….a lot lot more needs to be done when dealing with critical illnesses like cancer….

    Like

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