“More than technological advancements, if we could just focus on the capacity building of medical staff, especially our nurses, who play a crucial role in providing care to children with cancer, we can take leaps of advancement in effective and efficient treatment at PGIMER,” said Dr. Amita Trehan, from the pediatric hematology-oncology department of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) at a press conference on Friday.
The department held a press conference to mark 25 years of having a dedicated unit to treat children with cancer at the Advanced Institute of Paediatrics at PGIMER. The specialized unit will also hold a two-day long Continued Medical Education (CME) conference on February 1 and 2.
At the press conference, doctors from the Paediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit, along with international experts from the specialized area of treatment, answered questions on the latest trends in cancer treatment in children across India and globally.
“Since the last 25 years, we have of course made a lot of changes and developed a more effective treatment center. This was not done only through advancement in technology, but also by merely increasing the number of dedicated medical professionals in this super specialty,” claimed Dr. Trehan. “Apart from that, there has been progressive research on how to use therapeutic drugs and chemotherapy in a more effective way in terms of dosage amounts and the time of the day the dosage should be issued,” added the doctor.
At least 450 children with various cancer ailments visit PGIMER regularly. The doctors attribute the increase in the number of children with cancer being treated at PGIMER to an increase in awareness of the disease. “Earlier, we used to get only about 50 patients in a day, but now more and more people are bringing their children at an earlier stage of cancer because symptoms are not that easily ignored anymore,” claimed Dr. Trehan.
In terms of blood-related cancers, doctors estimate that about 80 percent of patients with such cancers are easily cured. However, in certain cancers, such as neuroblastoma, a tumor that forms in the kidney, the survival rate of children is much lower.
“Furthermore, there is potential to increase curability even more in India, if the concept of clinical trials on patients becomes a more accepted phenomenon,” said Dr. Scott Howard, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist from the USA, who will also be a part of the CME at the department.
The doctor believes that clinical trials will increase research potential, which will in turn aid the advancement of the treatment provided to children with cancer.
“Currently, people in India believe that clinical trails mean their children will be used as guinea pigs and experimented on. In fact, clinical trials will include using established treatment being used on children to see their effects and record results so we can make our medication better,” clarified Dr. Trehan.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines